Health Dept. Offering Free Car Saftey Inspections

Getting ready for some holiday travel? Add one more item to your “to do” list this week — getting your child’s car safety seat inspected for proper installation and use.

Car seat safety

Posted: Tuesday, December 8, 2015 12:00 am Car seat safety

By DONNA STILLINGER The Brunswick News

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of deaths among children ages 2 to 14 years old and the leading cause of injury-related death for children under 2 years old. According to the McIntosh County Health Department, an estimated 2,446 children die in motor vehicle crashes across the country each year.

In many cases, children are either not properly buckled into their safety seats, or parents did not use a booster seat to ensure children fit safely in a vehicle’s seat belt. When installed and used correctly, child car seats, booster seats and seat belts can prevent injuries and save lives. Seven out of 10 children are not properly buckled in and in many instances, booster seats are not even used.

The McIntosh County Health Department, along with the Ida Hilton Public Library and other sponsors, including the Georgia State Patrol, want to help local parents and caregivers keep children safe by making sure the proper child safety seat is being used for their most precious cargo.

The library — 1105 North Way, Darien — is hosting free car seat safety checks from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“We are grateful to those at the Ida Hilton Public Library and other community partners for holding such an important event,” said Paige Lightsey, nurse manager at the McIntosh County Health Department. “This is a wonderful opportunity for parents and caregivers to get their child car seats inspected and learn how to properly secure children in those seats. Car seats can and do prevent injuries and save lives.”

The health department in McIntosh County conducts checks periodically to help make sure children are properly restrained and to help parents navigate the complicated world of car seats. The department also holds clinics that teach parents and caregivers how to correctly install their car seats and educate them on how to properly secure a child in a seat.”

The health department held a car seat safety class in late November. A certified child passenger safety technician taught the class and one from the Hinesville Post of the Georgia State Patrol will be on hand Wednesday to examine child safety seats for recalls and to ensure correct installation in vehicles.

The inspections are especially good for new and expecting parents who are not used to using car seats and can also help parents who are switching to a different size or type of car seat as their children get older, officials say. Any caregiver who will be transporting children is asked to stop by and have their car seats checked for proper use and safety.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws that require child seat use.

In Georgia, the law states that children from 8 to 18 years old and at least 4 feet 9 inches tall are required to be in a seat belt in all seats. Children under 8 years old and less than 4 feet 9 inches tall are required to be in a child restraint installed and being used in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions, in the rear seat.

Before installing a car seat, authorities say to read both the car seat instruction manual and the vehicle owner’s manual. Even better, have an expert check the seat. This week, the service is free and just minutes away.

Based on need, new car seats could be provided to families at the event.

The car seats are being provided to McIntosh County Health Department through funding from the Communities of Coastal Georgia’s Miller Family Fund. The funding was provided earlier this year to educate families on the proper installation of car seats and general seatbelt safety and allowed the health department to buy and issue car seats to families in need who attend the car seat checks.

In addition to the safety seat checks, troopers with the Georgia State Patrol will be collecting new, unwrapped toys for this year’s Toys for Tots campaign. The toys collected at the McIntosh County event will be distributed locally through the Empty Stocking Fund.

Georgia Child Safety Seat Regulations:

Children ages 8 until 18 and over 4 feet 9 inches are required to be in a seat belt in all seats.

Children under age 8 and under 4 feet 9 inches are required to be in a child restraint installed and being used in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions, if available, in the rear seat.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.