Hurry up! Buckle up! Everyone is safe and ready to go! Wait a second … just because the kids are buckled up does NOT mean they are safe and ready to go! Infant seat (with or without the base), convertible seat, combination seat, forward facing seat (with or without a harness), booster seat (high back or backless), latch, tether or seatbelt … are you confused yet? Insert SCREAM here! With all the new technology and choices of child restraints, how do you know what is the right seat for your child, whether you are using it appropriately, and if it is installed correctly?
It is easy to see how parents and caregivers can easily get overwhelmed and frustrated with so many models and brands of child restraints on the market today. How do you know how to select the “best” child restraint? I’ve been a National Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) for nine years and the message has always stayed consistent as it relates to the “best.” The best child restraint is one that fits your child, fits your vehicle, and is one that will be used correctly every time you travel.
Here are the facts, and here is what I do know! According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number one killer of children 1 to 12 years old in the United States is car crashes. When used correctly, child restraints save lives. In Louisiana, 9 out of 10 car seats are installed incorrectly or misused! What does that mean? Since this is the NOLA Moms Blog, I will assume most readers are from Louisiana and that means if 10 people using child restraints are reading this right now, only ONE of you has your restraint installed correctly. Shocker, right?! How do you know if you are the ONE? You don’t! Unless you have made an appointment to have your car seat checked by a CPST, odds are you’re probably one of the NINE who does NOT have a correct installation and your child may be riding around unsafe!
Why take the chance? I tell people that making an appointment to have your seat checked by a CPST is the best money you will NEVER spend! Why? Well, first off it’s FREE and second, you can have the peace of mind that your precious cargo is riding safely! An appointment usually takes about 30-45 minutes. During this appointment, the technician will educate you on how to correctly install and use the child restraint system. Wouldn’t you rather know for sure that your seat is installed correctly and you are using it right instead of just worrying that it might be wrong? In other words, you’ll know YOU are the ONE who is correct and not one of the NINE who are incorrect or unsafe!
National Seat Check Saturday is September 22nd, and check up events will be held all over the United States. The Louisiana Child Passenger Safety Task Force will be hosting checkup events across the state to assist parents and caregivers with proper installation of child restraints. See the list below to find a location where you can have your child restraint checked on National Seat Check Saturday on September 22nd:
- Walker Oldsmobile: 1616 MacArthur Drive, Alexandria, LA 71301 – 9am-12pm
- Brilliant Minds Learning Center: 1421 Gardere Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70820 – 10am-2pm – Appointments Encouraged, Drive Ups Welcome 225-372-3991
- St. Martin Hospital: 210 Champagne Blvd, Breaux Bridge, LA 70517 – 10am – 2pm
- St. Bernard Parish Government Complex: 8201 W Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette, LA 70043 – 9am-12pm
- Wal-Mart: 1633 Martin Luther King Blvd, Houma, LA 70360 – 10am-3pm
- K-Mart Parking Lot: 3555 Highway 190, Mandeville, LA 70471 – 10am – 2pm
- Target: 4103 Pecanland Mall Dr, Monroe, LA 71203 – 10am – 1pm
- Billy Navarre Chevrolet: 1310 East College Street, Lake Charles, LA 70607 – 10am – 2pm
- Sheriff’s Safety Town: 8910 Jewella, Shreveport, LA 71118 – 9am – 11am
Make sure to check out the NHTSA website, where you can find tons of valuable information about choosing and using a car seat, child seat recalls, installation tips, child seat laws by state and even a child seat inspection station locator where you can simply enter your state or zip code to find the nearest one so you can have your child restraint checked.