Having a correctly installed child car seat or booster seat can provide parents of young children with their own sense of security.
That’s what Krysta Davis was seeking when she pulled her vehicle into a bay at WPD Ambulance in Lloydminster for a timely car seat clinic on Oct. 22.
She brought her 18 month old son Charlie with her and is expecting to give birth to her second child soon to heighten her safety concerns.
“We’re just about to have our second so we thought we’d get the infant car seat installed beside the bigger car seat and that we could make sure that’s all safe and sound,” she said.
“Actually, my husband installed it the last time so I haven’t even checked it. I hope it’s installed right.”
Certified inspections were handled by a team of pros at WPD that were trained by the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute in Saskatoon.
Travis Holeha, the institute’s child traffic safety program coordinator said the objective of the clinic was to allow parents to get their child car seat checked and ensure children are properly secured in the right seat.
“People often don’t realize that the biggest killer of children over the age of one is car crashes,” said Holeha.
“So the work that WPD Ambulance and the technicians here are doing is very important because, in fact, it can save injuries and save lives.”
This was the first public clinic put on by WPD with technicians running through a child restraint installation checklist for rear facing, front facing and booster seats while engaging the vehicle owner.
“There’s lots of different seats out there, lots of different vehicles out there, and it can be confusing for parents,” said Holeha.
“So you come down to one of the clinics and see one of the technicians here at the ambulance base and they will get you set up in your specific situation.”
Jennifer Hardes brought her vehicle child seat in for the same safety concerns that motivated Davis.
She has a two year old daughter who rides in a vehicle and her second child is due in March.
“I’m just making sure it’s installed correctly because everyone has a different way of installing,” said Hardes.
She reported she bought the car seat when her daughter was about eight months old and had doubts about it being installed correctly.
The WPD technicians showed her how to properly anchor it and secure it with the proper tightness.
The checklist ensures the child restraint device meets a set of manufacturer’s standards, is installed correctly and tsecures a child safely.
“It gives them more security just knowing it’s been checked and it’s been certified,” Michel Chabot operations supervisor for WCB Ambulance.
“It gives a lot of people confidence in their car seats.”
With rear facing, front facing and booster seats ,the correct installation and usage is not one size fits all.
“There’s a recommended weight that you use for rear and front facing,” said Chabot.
“Also what we do is we check to make sure the baby’s weight and height and age all go into the recommended seats that you wear.”
Height also factors into the correct position of seat belts that WPD experts can advise on.
Holeha says he has probably seen over 50,000 car seats during his career and stresses the seats should always be in the back.
“The back is a kids’ zone,” he said.
“A lot of the things we see are children forward facing at an early age, being in the wrong seats, seats not tight enough and children being out of car seats too early.”
It’s the law in Saskatchewan that a child has to ride in a booster seat until at least the age of seven.
“Even at seven they are not ready for an adult seat belt so we want to make sure they are in the proper seat for a long as they need to be,” said Holeha.