A police office demonstrates the proper way to fit a childâ€™s car seat into a family car. Courtesy Photo
Last year, 63 children in the Washington metropolitan area under the age of seven were killed in automobile accidents, many of who were thrown from their car seats, according to the District of Columbia Fire Department.
Additionally, about 7,000 were injured while restrained in car seats, Emergency Services coordinator Jon McClain said.
Consequently, firefighters with the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department are asking residents to stop by so they can provide free inspection and installation of child car seats, because unfortunately, they said, too many parents donâ€™t know how to properly install the seats.
Last modified on Thursday, 23 April 2009 03:33
Parents can stop by any time between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the fire department station at 1923 Vermont Ave. from now until April 30, officials said.
Fireman Christopher Iverson said the city is offering the service because of a recent increase in the number of children injured due to the improper installation of child car seats.
Most of the injuries that small children suffer from are directly linked to their seats being installed improperly, firefighter Edward Lawson said. A huge problem is parents who carpool to school with too many kids.
â€œThe window seats are wider than the middle seat, and the middle seat often isn't compliant,â€ Lawson said.
Trying to fit three car seats across a rear seat can be a challenge, and often impossible. To make matters more complex, the car seats that fit into one car may not fit into another. Iverson said he has seen his share of child related injuries, even deaths because of the seats being installed improperly.
Common mistakes parents often make in installing the front seats are the harness straps are either twisted or to loose, or the seatbelt is to loose, Iverson said.
The firemen said they hope that by showing parents the proper way to install childrenâ€™s car seats, they can dramatically reduce injuries and deaths to kids in automobile accidents.