Pickerington Times-Sun

Firefighters will inspect car seats, their installation

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Statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that car crashes are the leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old in the United States.

Studies by the NHTSA also indicate three out of four car seats are used incorrectly.

The Violet Township Fire Department is doing its part to make sure children are riding safe by holding a "Car Seat Drive-Through Installation Day" from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 24.

Certified car seat technicians will be on hand at Violet Fire Station 592, 8700 Refugee Road in Pickerington, to assist all caregivers in installing and inspecting their car and booster seats.

Car seat tech Eric Taft, a firefighter-paramedic with the Violet Township Fire Department, said educating the public about proper car seat installation is essential to save lives.

"There are a lot of things to watch out for," Taft said.

"People think everything is (installed) correctly, but it is good to have people that are certified check it out," he said.

Taft said child safety regulations certainly have come a long way since he was a kid.

"When I grew up I didn't have to sit in a car seat," Taft said.

"I sat in a milk crate in the back of my Dad's truck," he said.

An increasing emphasis on safety has led fire departments throughout the country to focus on training their members about car seat safety.

Violet Township is at the forefront of that effort.

All full-time firefighters in the department are car seat technicians and are required to undergo 40 hours of training to be certified.

Violet Fire is also assisting neighboring Truro Township Fire Department in Reynoldsburg in getting all of their members certified as well, Taft said.

He said car techs will be available to answer questions and provide information at the event, which is free and open to the public.

One thing caregivers are commonly unaware of is that certain car seats have been recalled, Taft said.

"We see car seats get recalled all the time," he said.

"We tell people to fill out those warranty cards and send them in," Taft said.

If a car tech encounters a recalled car seat, they have to remove it from the vehicle.

"We have to take it out of the car, we cut the seat belt and throw it away," Taft said.

He said the Violet Township Fire Department staff also takes appointments for inspections on Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings "as long as we're not out on emergency runs."

To make an appointment with a certified Violet Fire Department car seat tech, call 614-837-4123.

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