Ensuring child car seat safety in less than 15 minutes

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Many parents are unsure of what type of car seat their child should have and when their child should move to a regular seat. But they're people working to change that.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The Arkansas Children’s Injury Prevention Center says 90 percent of parents aren't properly installing their car seats.

Many parents are also unsure of what type of car seat their child should have and when their child should move to a regular seat.

For Erika Phillips, her main goal is to always make sure her daughter is the safest that she can be. That’s why she called Arkansas’ Child Passenger Safety Program asking for help to make sure her car seat was properly installed.

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“There are thousands of different kinds of car seats and there are thousands of different types of automobiles,” said Phillips. “There’s a lot to be confused about as a parent and this is definitely at the top of that list.”

Credit: KTHV

Holly Terry, the Program Manager of the Child Passenger Safety Program, said they provide free car seat checks and recall checks for anyone in the state. The program does about 300 to 400 checks at the office each month. That’s not counting hundreds of other checks that happen at large events and other departments where people are certified to check.

Certified car seat technicians take part in three and a half days of intense training for national certification. With that training, they can make sure parents have the right car seat for their child, the child is within the height and weight limits for using car seats, and make installing and using a car seat an easier experience.

Many of those technicians are first responders. Across the state, more police officers, firefighters, EMT’s, paramedics and hospital workers are getting certified.

“First responders are the ones who see the aftermath of improper car seat use and so they are the ones who have really reached out to us,” said Terry.

Ofc. Justin Dorsey & Amanda Jaeger, Credit: KTHV

The Benton Police Department currently has ten officers certified. Benton Police Officer Justin Dorsey is a certified car seat technician.

“Any accidents are bad but if the child is not properly restrained it can have some pretty terrible consequences,” said Dorsey.

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In addition to the educational checks they do, they've also been diligent to write tickets for improper car seat use. Dorsey said writing tickets is effective but the department would prefer to educate and prevent the problem from getting to that point. As community involvement continues to grow, Terry said the problem has been shrinking.

“We have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of injuries from car seats and an increase in car seat use,” said Terry.

For Phillips, the mom who took advantage of the car seat check, she said it was an eye-opener for her. “I am sure other moms think they have done everything right, but there are probably a few tweaks you can make to make sure your child is as safe as possible,” she added.

Expert car seat checks are something Phillips would recommend for all families and it takes less than 15 minutes.

If you are interested in having a certified technician check your car seat, join THV11 for our “Helping Home” event on Thursday, July 13 from 3 to 6 p.m. at St. Mark Baptist Church in Little Rock. There will be certified specialists on site checking car seats for free.

For more information about the event, click here.

If you can’t make the event, you can call a certified child passenger safety technician near you to schedule a check. The following link includes contact information for various technicians available in the state can be found here.