March City Salute: Car Seat Checkups in Bismarck and Mandan | VideoMarie Arceo | 3/3/2010
But parents can know for sure because of the Children`s Car Seat Checkup Program.
Experts say problems arise when parents ignore the instruction manuals that come with their cars and the car seats.
"As with everything, most people don`t read instructions. When you have a piece of equipment, you just jump to that equipment," said Dawn Mayer, the Child Passenger Safety Program Director.
That`s why she says 5 out of 6 car seats in North Dakota are misused.
It`s also why these car seat check ups are necessary.
Dawn says the two biggest problems are that child restraints are either too loose or too tight, and the seat belt that holds the car seat in place is looped through the wrong opening.
"The complexity of the car seats. They`re getting harder and harder to use, lots of bells and whistles are coming with the car seats and it`s all good and bad," said Mayer.
The program is sponsored by the Region 7 Safe and Drug Free Communities Coalition and the Bismarck-Mandan Safety Council.
In 2009, 14 car seat checkups were held at Stan Puklich Chevrolet in Bismarck and Bill Barth Ford and Schwan GM Auto Center in Mandan.
445 car seats were inspected.
"Some people come, they`re expecting babies, so they want to learn how to do it right, before baby comes. Some people have missed that step, so they come in, they heard about us," said Mayer.
Trained volunteers review the instructions that come with the car seat and the vehicle owner`s manual.
They make sure the seat is appropriate for the age, weight and height of the child.
And they check to see if it`s been recalled and that it`s in good condition with no missing parts.
In conjunction with the check-ups, car seat roundups are also held, where people can trade in their old car seats in exchange for a gift card, to help get unsafe seats out of circulation.
The next car seat check up is March 10th at Stan Puklich Chevrolet in Bismarck.