Is your seat in correctly? Have your child car seat checked

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 8/25/98.

Incorrect usage of child safety seats and safety belts can mean the difference between life and death in an accident situation.

Members of the Paynesville Area Ambulance Service and a Paynesville Police officer who are child passenger safety certified will hold an inspection check-up on Saturday, Aug. 29, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon north of the Paynesville Area High School during the Babies and Childrenís Fair.

The inspection will take place in the area between the high school and tennis courts. Brenda Stang and Alice McColley stressed children must be in the seats for the inspection.

ďA lot of kids sit in the vehicles with the lap belts at the wrong angle because they come across their necks,Ē McColley said.

Many children need to be in safety seats instead of seat belts if they are small for their age.

ďI thought we had our child safety seat in our car right. We had a new van, a new baby and worked in the health care profession,Ē Stang said. ďWhen I took it for an inspection I was surprised at the number of things they found wrong.Ē

ďItís the little things that make a big difference at the time of an accident,Ē McColley said.

Through clinics, they have learned that seat belts and often times child safety seats should be replaced after an accident. ďKey pressure points can be damaged even if there is no physical signs of damage to the seat,Ē Stang and McColley said.

ďIt can be mind boggling at some of the problems an inspector can find,Ē McColley said.

At the check-up, the inspectors will be handing out pamphlets to parents on child safety seats and air bags.

Steve and Brenda Stang, Alice McColley and Joe Schmitz have all completed a 16-hour safety course. Two of their trainers will also be available to answer questions during the safety checks.

Children in motor vehicle crashes facts compiled by the Department of Public Safety:
ēMore children die in motor vehicle crashes than from all childhood diseases combined.

ēIn 1997, 109 passengers under the age of 11 were killed or severely injured in motor vehicle crashes in Minnesota. Over 1,900 passengers under the age of 11 received minor to moderate injuries.

ēThe Minnesota Department of Safety estimates the cost to Minnesota for the nearly 2,000 deaths or injuries to our young was about $47 million.

ē70 percent of fatalities and severe injuries could be prevented with proper use of a safe child restraint, and 45 percent could be prevented with proper safety belt use.

ēAccording to Minnesota statistics, 70 to 88 percent of child safety seats in use are being used incorrectly. 27 percent of child safety seats are being so grossly misused that they serve no safety function at all.

ēA 1995 observation study revealed 13 percent of infants (under one year of age), 22 percent of young children (one to three years of age) and 52 percent of older children (four through 10 years of age) in Minnesota are riding in cars improperly protected against crashesó completely unrestrained.

ēMinnesota, as well as every other state and the District of Columbia, has a mandatory child restraint usage law.

ēMinnesota requires all children under the age of four be properly restrained in a federally approved child safety seat and children under the age of 11 use a safety belt regardless of seating position. All front seat passengers and the driver must also use a safety belt.

Return to Archives