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Idaho Enterprise

Car Seat Clinic

Last week, the Nell J Redfield Memorial Hospital, as well as the Idaho Department of Transportation and Safe Kids Worldwide sponsored the annual Child Safety Car Seat Clinic.  Members of the public were encouraged to have their current car seats checked to make sure they met safety standards, and new car seats were distributed to those in need of them.  By midday, the clinic had seen a number of participants, and was headed toward their general average of between fifteen and twenty.

Certified Car Seat techs Brenda Barney, Donna Potter, and Sally Stocks were on hand to oversee the inspection and installation of car seats, along with Jon Everson, Safe Kids liaison from Bannock county.  The Car Seat technician program requires forty hours of training every two years, which is necessary as vehicle and car seat technology changes frequently.  Many people reuse car seats from child to child, which can sometimes result in improper use by weight or height.  

“It’s always good to check as often as you can,” Everson noted.

The program is free through the Department of Transportation and various agencies.  The screening involved a scale and height calibrater to weigh and measure children for the appropriate car seats.  There were also a variety of car seats on hand to fit different types of vehicles.  “Depending on the style of car and different other factors, it can sometimes be a bit of a challenge to find the right fit,” said Sally Stocks.

During the morning and afternoon, the group kept busy with a fairly steady stream of parents and their kids.  Toys were on hand to keep kids busy during the process, which seemed to go a long way.  The excitement of a new seat also went a long way.

“That’s much nicer—the old one pushed her knees up,” said Kaylynne Bell, who came to the clinic to see whether her daughter Jane needed a new car seat.  “I hate fighting with car seats!  I’m so glad these guys are here doing this,” she said.

Last week was National Child Passenger Safety Week.  Jon Everson spent his week making the circuit from Idaho Falls through Blackfoot, Bear Lake and Fort Hall in an effort to spread awareness about the necessity for appropriate and safe child seating.

Each year, the U.S. experiences 179,000 injuries from car crashes, according to Safe Ride 4 Kids.  The National Safe Kids Campaign further suggests that many of those injuries are caused by car seats.  According to their statistics, “as many as 4 in 5 car seats are installed incorrectly.”  

The techs at the clinic spent time with each potential seat occupant, making sure that the seat was the appropriate size, that it was installed and anchored correctly, and that it was comfortable to the occupant.