Driving It Home: 80% of child safety seats are installed improperly
Did you know that more than 50 percent of child safety seats are installed improperly? This week, there’s a national push to change this. State and local police departments will be out for National Child Passenger Safety Week to stress the importance of having these seats put in properly. Our Megan Cruz reports.
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CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. -- "These things are so large and bulky and very wide," said Clifton Park resident Natascha Fawthrop.
"You think it's going to be easy when you first go into it," said Watervliet resident Russell Mulford.
"Trying to figure out a lap belt that wants to pull up," said David Peat.
As if being a parent wasn't complicated enough, you have the child safety seat. According to State Trooper Harold Wittner, every 8 in 10 are installed improperly. That's why some parents are taking advantage of free seat checks.
"Safety. This is the only thing that's going to save them in a crash," said Fawthrop.
Seat check events are held year-round. A recent one was held at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Emergency Corps, co-hosted by the State Police.
"You see a lot of bad things in my job so it's quite important to get it done," said Peat. He works with the Ambulance Corps. He installed his newborn's seat himself, but when he arrived for his check, he was told he didn't do it right.
Trooper Wittner spent the next 45 minutes teaching Peat the proper way.
"That it's tight enough, that it's not moving more than an inch side to side, you're looking to see that the harness straps are laying flat against the child," explained Wittner.
"Now I don't have to worry about if she's staying there or is she going to end up in front with me if someone hits me," said Peat.
But the most common mistake is that people forget that there are two manuals to read to install these seats properly.
"Like you're trying to follow what they say with your automobile manual and then you're trying to follow what they give you out of the box with the seat so where they both line up can be a gray area," said Mulford.
People here say the tutorial is invaluable.
"If you happen to have to install a second car seat or if you need to remove it to make room and you need to put it back, you definitely need to know," said Mulford.
“A properly installed car seat will significantly reduce the potential for an injury or fatality to the child," said Wittner.
Upcoming car seat checks:
Child Safety Seat Check - Albany County
1 p.m - 4:00 p.m.
Crossgates Mall, Overflow lot near Ruby Tuesday
1 Crossgates Mall Road, Albany, NY 12203
Contact Laurie Prividera at 518-426-1000 ext. 4221 or Kelley Pike at 518-262-0890
Child Safety Seat Check - Schoharie County
10 a.m - 1:00 p.m.
Cobleskill Fire Department
610 East Main St, Cobleskill, NY
Be sure to install your car seat prior to the check. Bring the child, vehicle's owner manual and car seat's instruction manual with you, if possible.
Agency: Schoharie County Public Health and New York State Police
Contact: Maryann Purack at (518) 295-8474 or Trooper Leonard Fornabia (518) 783-3259