CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Safety is important any time one gets behind the wheel. But during Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week, the focus is on kids in car seats.
The week-long observance is a partnership between local communities and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As part of the annual safety week, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is hosting a seat inspection event on Monday September 25th to ensure kids are safe.
The inspections takes about 30 minutes, ensuring that car seats are not only installed correctly, but the children sitting in them are the right size and age. Officials said both of these factors leave children vulnerable to injury in a crash.
District officials also discussed with parents the importance of registering the seat so they can be informed if there is a recall.
Christina Ladage, the CUPHD’s Senior Car Seat Instructor Proxy, said almost half of car seats have something that needs to be fixed.
“46 percent of car seats are misused,” she said. “Whether it’s the child in the car seat that’s not the right one for them, it’s not being properly installed correctly. There’s a number of factors that can contribute to the misuse.”
Ladage also reminded that drivers can be ticketed by police if car seats don’t meet the correct requirements.
“State law was changed a number of years ago. I don’t recall exact year because we’ve been encouraging it a lot longer,” she said. “Rear-facing until age two. Turning a child around too early for that can result in head, neck and spinal injuries due to lack of development in ligaments, muscles and tendons.
Ladage added that some mistakes are an easy fix.
“A lot of times, people will use what’s called the latch system – Lower Anchor and Tether system – in addition to their seat belt,” she said. “Unless your car seat says to do that, it’s a big no-no because it can cause a problem with one or the other functioning properly if there is a crash.”
the car seat inspection will be on Monday. If you can’t make it out you can visit the NHTSA website or visit the CUPHD on the second Monday of every month. Those inspections do require an appointment, which can be made by calling 217-353-4932.