How much do you really know about child car seats and proper car seat use?
If you have any questions about how to use them and whether yours is safe, drop by a public car seat clinic tomorrow (Jan. 18) from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Rainy River District EMS ambulance garage (801 Scott St.)
“It’s a quick stop-in,” said OPP Cst. Beth Chevalier, who has been instructing service providers in a car seat safety course here over the past two days.
“We will assist the parents or caregivers to make sure the seat is the right fit for their vehicle.
“Kids are optional,” she added. “They don’t have to bring kids to the clinic.”
Cst. Chevalier said the reason the public should attend the clinic is simple: safety.
“A properly-installed car seat, with the child also buckled correctly, will greatly reduce the risk of injury in a collision,” she remarked.
“So it’s important for parents and caregivers to have the confidence that their child is being transported safely when they travel on the roads.
“The technician training that I am doing is educating service providers on the correct installation of car seats . . . in order for them to educate parents and caregivers and the general public to improve the lives of children,” she noted.
Cst. Chevalier has been conducting a two-and-a-half-day course for service providers at the ambulance garage.
The course includes a written exam as well as a practical, hands-on portion, which is the two-hour car seat clinic scheduled for tomorrow.
“These technicians will be trained and assisting the parents who come to the clinic, and I will be observing their interactions and also seeing that their techniques and installations are correct,” she explained.
Cst. Chevalier noted not only is having a properly-installed car seat safer for a child passenger but it’s the law.
“The driver is responsible for their under-age passengers,” she stressed.
“So the driver of a truck has to make sure that the child is sitting in the proper seat and that the seat is installed properly in the vehicle,” she noted.
“They are legally responsible for the child–not necessarily the parent but the driver in that case,” Cst. Chevalier explained.
“Parents have a moral obligation but legally, it’s the driver.”
In addition to attending the car seat clinic tomorrow at the ambulance garage, Cst. Chevalier had some general tips regarding car seats for parents and caregivers.
“Most car seats have a five-12 years’ expiry date,” she noted. “They can check the Transport Canada website [www.tc.gc.ca] to see if their car seat is expired.”
Another tip is, after a collision, car seats are not safe to use and they should be disposed of.
“You shouldn’t take a child’s safety for granted,” Cst. Chevalier stressed. “You won’t be able to see a hairline crack in the base of that seat.
“If you do get into a collision, that seat could very well be compromised by something that you can’t see,” she warned.
“It’s not worth the risk.”
Yet another piece of advice is to check the Transport Canada website to see if your car seat has been recalled or has any public safety notices on it.
The car seat training and clinic has been provided by the Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada, Northwestern Health Unit, and Safe Communities Rainy River District.
Safe Communities chair Linda Plumridge said it’s been several years since car seat training has been provided like this, and prior to this latest training, few here were still certified to check car seats.
“It’s great that they had this turnout for the training,” Plumridge noted.