Wake County Organizations Offer Free Car Seat Checks in Raleigh
How safe is your child’s car seat? This week, you can find out for free from experts, and if you’re planning to buy a car seat or booster seat for your child, you’ll also learn how to choose and correctly install it.
The free car seat checks — compliments of Safe Kids Wake County and Wake County Human Services — will be featured during Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 18-24 at the following Raleigh locations:
- Wednesday, Sept. 21, 10 a.m.–1 p.m., Wake County Human Services Millbrook Center, 2809 E. Millbrook Rd., Raleigh
- Thursday, Sept. 22, 1-5 p.m., Wake County Human Services Public Health Center, 10 Sunnybrook Rd., Raleigh
- Friday, Sept. 23, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Wake County Human Services Public Health Center, 10 Sunnybrook Rd., Raleigh
- Saturday, Sept. 24, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Rex Hospital, 4420 Lake Boone Trail, Raleigh
As a mother, I’ve felt the pressure that many parents face from children wanting to discard their booster seats prematurely in favor of seat belts that look “cooler.” Or perhaps you just want to see your baby’s face in an infant car seat and are eagerly anticipating the day when you can take him or her out of the rear-facing seat. But consider safety first: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends keeping children rear-facing for as long as possible up to the top height or weight allowed by their particular seats. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing-only “infant” car seat, he or she should travel in a rear-facing “convertible” or all-in-one car seat. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing size limits, the child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether. After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat with a harness, your child should be placed in a booster seat until he or she is the right size to use seat belts safely.
Safety doesn’t end during the tween years, either. I’ve found that when I’m carpooling teens, I need to be extra cautious and make sure everyone is buckled before I drive off. Also, make sure you register your car and booster seat with the car seat manufacturer so you will be notified in the event of a recall. Learn more about car seat safety and locate a certified seat check technician at safercar.gov/parents.
Children’s safety depends on parents and caregivers, but almost 60 percent of car seats are used improperly, according to NHTSA. Being in a car is not a safe place for children based on NHTSA statistics, which show that for children ages 1-13, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death. From 2010 to 2014, there were 3,181 children under the age of 13 killed and an estimated 601,000 children injured in car crashes, according to the NHTSA.
A simple free checkup that shows you how to buckle your child safely can make all the difference. And something else to consider: The habits you adopt in bringing up your children may be the habits they model as they become parents later in life.