Residents get car seat help

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By The Staff

Is your child really safe in the car? Car crashes remain the number one killer of children ages 3-14 in the United States (source NHTSA). In 2005, 1,946 children ages 14 and under died and an estimated 234,000 were injured in crashes. In Levy county - 4 out of 5 car seats are installed incorrectly. Safe Kids is trying to make a difference and reduce those fatalities and injuries, states Debora Regan, director of Safe Kids North Central Florida. "What we want to do is educate the parents and caregivers and get those car seats installed correctly. It just takes one tragic car crash to change the lives of a family forever."

Most parents think the have the car seat in correctly and are trying to do what is right. But we find a lot of common mistakes that can be easily corrected...and will keep your child safe in the car.

Safe Kids hosted a Car Passenger Safety (CPS) Class last week in Williston at the Fire Station. Safe Kids hosted this CPS class to teach new technicians how to properly install car seats. "We now have 9 new technicians to serve our local counties. These tech's can now go to their agencies and help parents and caregivers install car seats correctly," stated lead instructor Morya Wills, CPS Educator for Safe Kids. Safe Kids hosted a car seat station last Saturday so the new tech's could practice their new skills. Many families visited the station and learned how to install their car seats correctly. Several families could not believe such a great service existed and were very grateful their children left a lot safer than when they arrived at the station.

Here are some things you need to know:

Why is it important to use car seats and seat belts properly? Safety belts and car seats can be lifesavers, but they may not protect your child in an accident if they are used incorrectly.

What are the age/weight guidelines for the various types of car seats?

* Infants less than one year old and less than 20 pounds should be in rear-facing car seats.

* Children over one year old and between 20 and 40 pounds can be in forward-facing car seats.

* Children between 40 and 80 pounds (usually 4 to 8 years old) should be in booster seats.

* Usually children over 80 pounds and 8 years old can fit correctly in lap/shoulder belts.

What is a Safe Kids Car Seat Station and how can I attend? Safe Kids frequently holds car seat stations in 8 counties in North Central Florida. Parents can bring their children and their car seats to the event and learn how to properly install their seat with a certified car seat technician. You can call Safe Kids at (352) 265-0543 to schedule a car seat check or visit our website at http://www.shandssafekids.org.

"A Safe Kids child seat station provides hands-on training for parents and caregivers," said Debora Regan. Car seats have saved the lives of an estimated 3,800 children ages 0 to 4 from 1997 to 2006. Why not use a car seat? It is simple and can save your child's life...and it is the law in Florida.

For more information, please visit the Safe Kids North Central Florida Web site at: http://www.shandssafekids.org.