According to research, 9 out of 10 car seats are installed incorrectly, and emergency responders sees the consequences. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of deaths and injuries for American children ages 3-14.
Nannette Wilson, one of the few CSIs, or car seat installers, in East Clackamas County, ensures families have properly installed and inspected car seats. This week she is particularly busy with Child Passenger Safety Week.
From 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily this week, the fire department is offering free car seat safety checks, with no appointment necessary. Saturday, Wilson is available for checks from noon to 6 p.m. by appointment.
The many makes and models of cars, paired with the many brands of car seats, make proper installation challenging, said Alice Busch, spokeswoman for Sandy Fire District.
Busch offered statistics that highlight the importance of child safety seats.
• Improperly restrained children are 3.5 times more likely to be seriously injured in a crash than those in properly restrained car seats.
• For children injured in crashes, head, neck and spinal injuries are most common, often resulting in lifelong disabilities.
• In 2007, 838 child passengers in Oregon under age 8 were injured in motor vehicle crashes. Two children were killed. More than 42 percent of the children involved in these crashes were not using child restraints.
• Once children have outgrown their car seats, a booster seat should be used until safety belts fit correctly.