As mentioned yesterday, almost two-thirds of parents have their children riding in car seats incorrectly. These common instances of misuse can be the difference between life and death in an accident. Thankfully, there is a very simple solution to this problem! The Texas Department of Transportation will be holding another child safety seat checkup in a little over a week!

Texas Department of Transportation
Photo Credit: Heidi Kaye, Townsquare Media

I visited with Karen Mitchell, the Traffic Safety Specialist with the Behavioral Traffic Safety Section of TXDOT, who took me through the entire process. "When the parent or the caregiver first arrives, we have a Child Passenger Safety Checklist that we have them fill out." This asks for details about your specific vehicle and the car seat that you are currently using. It will also inquire about your child's age and measurements. This is pertinent information for determining if your safety seat is the right size and in the correct position for your child.

They will then do a visual inspection with your child in the seat. This allows them to see any mistakes that may be occurring throughout regular use. These can include the improper placement of the chest clip and tightness of the straps. It also allows them to ensure that the headrest and harness slots are at the right height.

Chest Clip Position
Photo Credit: Heidi Kaye, Townsquare Media

Next, you will remove your child from the seat and they will physically examine the current installation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), loose installation that allows for lateral movement of the device as well as the incorrect angle of the car seat for the age of the child are the two biggest mistakes found with rear facing seats. As they see issues, they will remedy them and they will educate you on how to make adjustments as your child grows.

Finally, they will ask about the history of the seat and check to make sure that your specific make and model hasn't expired. Best of all, Mitchell noted that "if a parent comes and we find out that their seat is expired or if there is damage to it or if they don't know the history of it, then we do replace the seat free of charge."

Car Seat
Photo Credit: Heidi Kaye, Townsquare Media

This event is also free! It will be going on Saturday June 4, 2022 from 10 AM to 1 PM at the Lubbock YWCA on 66th and University [6501 University Avenue, Lubbock, TX 79413]. There is no sign up required. Simply show up with your car seat and your child. This will ensure that you get the most accurate inspection and adjustment.

Most importantly, if you cannot attend the event, then simply call the Texas Department of Transportation at 806 - 748 - 4478 and you can set up an appointment to have an inspection at their facility when you are available.

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Car seat misuse is more common than you think. This is partially due to the fact that once installed, most parents don't make the necessary adjustments as their child grows. I spoke with Karen Mitchell, the traffic safety specialist with the Behavioral Traffic Safety Section at the Texas Department of Transportation, about the biggest mistakes that parents make that could impact their child's safety.

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