MISSOULA - More than half of the nation’s car seats are being used incorrectly.
Drive Safe Missoula tried to change that number Friday by participating in a car seat fitting event at the Missoula Emergency Services Training Center.
The event was the culmination of a four-day training for first responders and public health professionals who learned how to test and fit car seats.
New parents, rolling up to the training center, were greeted by a team of professionals who measured the child and installed the new seats.
Drive Safe Missoula coordinator Steve Schmidt said anecdotally that he’s seen four out of five parents get installation wrong.
“We’ve seen everything from duct tape to bungee cords being utilized,” Schmidt said.
“It’s vitally important that they are installed correctly and the parents know how to utilize them so the little ones are as safe as possible in the cars," Schmidt continued.
Car seat fitting events happen often around Missoula. Check the calendar at https://www.drivesafemissoula.com/ for the nearest locations and times.
Alivia Williams — mother of the nine-month-old Roscoe — attended the event because her son was outgrowing his old car seat.
Williams let the professionals take her new car seat out of the box and right into her car.
“It’s a new thing for me and I don’t want to risk it,” Williams said. “It’s not something I’m willing to risk.”
Nonprofit Safe Kids gives this advice about keeping your child safe in the car:
- The back seat is the best. It is the safest place to ride for all children under age 13. Not all cars allow for a car seat in every place that has a seat belt. Check your car owner manual to see where you can put a car seat.
- Be wary of toys in the car. Choose toys that are soft and will not hurt your child in a crash. Secure any loose objects in the car.
- Wear your seat belt. We know that when adults wear seat belts, kids wear seat belts. So be a good example and buckle up for every ride. Be sure everyone in the vehicle buckles up, too.
- Never leave your child alone in a car, even for a minute.