Busting car seat myths during Child Passenger Safety Week, Local hospital offers inspections Tuesday

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Buckle Up For Life

Indianapolis, Ind. (Sept. 15, 2015) – Are you certain your child’s car seat is installed the right way?

Buckle Up For Life wants to bust some myths about car seats in honor Child Passenger Safety Week.

“Nationwide, three out of four car seats are installed incorrectly,” said Nathan Washatka, Child Passenger Safety Technician. “No parent wakes up in the morning thinking I’m going to go install my child’s seat improperly, but nationwide three out of four are, which just goes to show how easy it is to make mistakes when installing seats.”

Buckle Up For Life is a national program created ten years ago through a partnership between Cincinnati Children’s and Toyota.

“It’s daunting,” said Washatka. “There’s a lot of seats out there and there’s a lot of information. I’m a new parent myself, so I can sympathize with how overwhelming the tasks of parenting are.”

One of the myths Washatka wants to clear up is that used car seats are always safe. He says the truth is, car seats have expiration dates and it’s not always obvious a car seat has been involved in a car crash.

“What we want to avoid is going to a garage sale or a second hand store and buying a seat that could have come from anywhere because it could have been involved in crashes or it could be recalled. Do your best to know the history of the seat. That’s the most important thing.”

Washatka also says kids should sit in the back seat until they turn 13-years-old.

“Airbags are designed to interact with adult bodies and so children younger than 13 who are sitting in the front seat, they can actually be injured by those airbags. We want children under 4’9” to use a booster seat. A lot of parents, with good intentions, move their kids from forward facing car seats to seatbelts, when actually what we want is for those kids to move to booster seats.”

“Some folks believe that once a child turns one you can turn their car seat and face it forward. That used to be the recommendation, but the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that kids remain rear facing until at least age two. We want children from about the age of two to about the age of five, we want them in a forward facing car seat with a 5-point harness and then we want to put them in booster seats after that. ”

Another myth is the pricier the car seat, the better.

“All car seats are required to meet the same safety standards, so a car seat that’s several hundred dollars is passing the same exact safety test as a car seat that is much less expensive,” said Washatka.

The Buckle Up For Life website walks you through how to install different stages of car seats and lets you search by zip code to find car seat experts.

Meanwhile, Franciscan St. Francis Health is offering free inspections with certified technicians available to advise on the proper use of seats. The event is 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the parking lot of Franciscan St. Francis Weight Loss Center at 5230-A E. Stop 11 Road.

If unable to visit the inspection sites, you can arrange for free inspections by calling 317-528-5774.

Language interpreters will be on hand to assist Hispanic and Burmese/Chin parents and adult caregivers. Children’s car seats will be provided free for those who prove financial need; however, children must be on hand unless the mother is pregnant.

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