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Experts advise car seat inspections to reduce travel risks

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – National Child Passenger Safety Week, an effort from national and state-wide officials to ensure safe travels for little ones, kicked off on Sunday.
Experts say special events throughout the week will bring awareness to safety risks on the road and talk about the importance of car seats in that equation.
“We normally have somewhere around 2,000 kids injured on our roadways every year. Those are a range of injuries,” SCDHEC Safe Kids Coordinator Kevin Poore says.
Officials from the Juvenile Product Manufacturer’s Association add 445 children are injured in the United States every day. Three are killed.
“Car seats are definitely a solution to a problem,” JPMA Director of Child Passenger Safety Joe Colella says. “That problem is that motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury, hospitalization and death for American children.”
Experts say it is the simple answer, but a bigger issue comes from incorrect use of the popular item.
“Not only in the state of South Carolina, but nationally, we do see a high rate of misuse for car seats,” Poore says. “That misuse rate in South Carolina is somewhere around 70 percent based on the data we see.”
The misuse is possibly related to not knowing how to operate the seat for the child or situation.
“Snug is a good word. It not only applies to the installation of the car seats but also the harnesses that hold the child in,” Colella says.
Or – the extended use of a seat past its expiration date.
“Part of it is the use and wear and tear of materials, and part of that is not only usage but also climate,” Colella adds.
SCDHEC says they plan on holding special events throughout the week at more than a hundred locations in the state.
“It could be at your local Target, your local Walmart,” Poore says. “It could be at a fire department. We have events we set up in parking lots and invite people to come out and get car seats checked.”
Anyone can make an appointment online to have their personal car seats looked at by a certified technician free of charge.
“All it’s going to cost you is time, and you’ll probably get your child being safe, and even if you’re doing everything correctly, you’ll get peace of mind,” Poor adds.
For more information on inspection services and special events throughout this week, you can click here.
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