SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – Saturday was National Car Seat Safety Day. 22News is working for you with the proper way to get a car seat installed.
Car seats save lives, but properly installing them can be difficult for parents. That’s why throughout the year, police departments, like South Hadley police, offer to check to make sure parents are doing everything they can to keep their children safe.
“It’s nice to have someone and somewhere to go and have and know that it’s in safe and that I’m doing as much as I can to make sure she’s safe while she’s in the car,” said Jennifer Johnson, who had a 16-month-old daughter in a car seat for the free check.
South Hadley car seat technicians showed us how to install a forward-facing car seat through the “latch system.”
“There’s these little tags right here on each seat and if you go and you push down a little, you’ll feel the bar, it’s a metal bar, that’s called the latch system,” said car seat technician Evan Briant, who is also a South Hadley EMT. He showed us how tags in the seats of the car signified where metal latches. Those latches should be where the car seat’s belt is looped through.
Every car, and every car seat is different, so it’s recommended you read your car manual as well as the car seat instructions.
One mistake many car seat techs notice parents making is they don’t fully pull out the seatbelt until they hear it click. Then, they’re supposed to let it release so that it keeps the car seat locked when they try to pull it. That will keep the kids safe if the car stops fast or gets in an accident.
“We also do not want anybody to just get a seat on the side of the road or at tag sales, because you don’t know the history of the seat and that’s very important,” said South Hadley Police Officer Steven Fleming.
Officer Fleming showed us how each car seat has an expiration date.
“Even after the 4th child, there were new laws that I didn’t even know about like expiration dates on car seats so I think because things change, it’s hard to stay current, so this is a great thing to be a part of,” said Karen Rippa, mother of four and a teacher in South Hadley.
Through grant money, South Hadley police were able replace old car seats with new ones to ensure each child’s safety.