Fire Department hosts Car Seat Safety event
According to the CDC, motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death in children in the United States, and many of those could have been prevented through proper use of a child safety seat. Children are our most important resource, and it’s important that we do everything we can to ensure their safety.
To that end, the Copperas Cove Fire Department teamed up with Baylor Scott & White KidSafe Program and other volunteers Thursday afternoon to perform safety seat inspections at the Copperas Cove FD.
They ensured that the car seats were properly installed, facing the proper directions, and that the seats were being used correctly. They also made sure that the seats were neither expired nor recalled. When needed, they replaced the seats free of charge.
Additionally, they taught about the importance of child safety seats, what type of safety seat is appropriate for the individual child, when they should switch to a new seat, and how long the child should remain in a safety seat.
“It’s a service that we enjoy providing to our citizens,” said Deputy Fire Chief Gary Young. “We have provided a lot of inspections, and we’ve got a really good place to be able to do it...It’s all about keeping the kids safe.”
Seven of Cove’s firefighters are certified to do the safety inspections—more than any of the stations in the surrounding counties.
Young said that it was important that they have someone who can do the inspections whenever needed. Members from the Killeen FD assisted during the event as well.
Keith Reed, with Baylor Scott & White’s Texas KidSafe Child Passenger Safety Program, assisted the firefighters with the inspections.
“Our whole program is designed to reduce injuries and fatalities on Texas roads,” said Reed. “We’ve seen expired seats here today. We’ve seen broken seats here today…We’ve seen children in the completely wrong type of seat,” said Reed. “We’re able to provide these seats at no cost to the families that come through here if they need it…It actually ends up saving taxpayer dollars. For every seat that we hand out, we save taxpayers in the area about $2,000 on average per seat.”
Reed said that 99 percent of the time, there is something incorrect with the safety seats when they do the inspections.
Young said that he’s only ever had one inspection where he didn’t find anything wrong.
Age and weight are determining factors in determining what kind of safety seat the child needs. According to the law, children under eight—unless taller than 4’9’’—are required to use a child safety seat. Reed recommended following American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) best practice recommendations. They recommend that children face backwards until they are two years old, and that children should remain in a booster seat (even if they are older than eight) until they are taller than 4’9’’.
Kaitlin Sanck was one of many parents who had a car seat inspected. She said she had difficulty installing car seats, and really appreciated the help.
“I was in a motor vehicle accident, so I guess it was a good thing that I did come because they ended up telling me that I needed to get rid of my car seat,” said Sanck. The safety seat inspectors ended up replacing her safety seat free of charge.
“I learned about how the seat belt has no weight limit, and I also learned how to properly secure myself too as a driver…I’m grateful because now I know that my daughter is safer.”
Anyone who would like to have their safety seats inspected can contact the Fire Department Monday through Thursday between 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. to set up an appointment. They usually schedule appointments for Tuesdays or Thursdays between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. so that the child can be there for the inspection.