Buckling up babies seems like it would be simple, but experts trained in car seat safety say in the state of Maine that many are doing it wrong.
“90% of all car seats are installed incorrectly. We want people to get out and get their car seats inspected and installed correctly,” said Shellie Tourtillotte, a public educator with the Orrington Fire Department.
“We’re all in a hurry, we lead busy lives, but it is vital to make sure that your child is secured in their seat,” said Anna Moses, a registered nurse and trauma coordinator at Eastern Maine Medical Center.
When it comes to keeping pint-sized passengers safe, “There’s five big things that we look at when it comes to car seat safety,” said Moses.
The first thing to keep in mind is selection
“We choose an appropriate seat based on the child’s age, weight, height, and any behavioral, or medical conditions that they may have,” said Moses.
Next is direction; rear-facing car seats versus forward-facing car seats.
“Rear-facing is until at least two years of age, or when the height, and weight, exceeds the manufacturer’s guidelines, and then after that, you can switch to forward-facing,” said Moses.
The third safety tip is the location of the car seat.
Maine State Law says to keep kids riding in the back until they’re 12 years of age, or 100 pounds.
“Rear center is the safest place for them,” said Moses.
Number four on the list is installation.
They say following the car seat manufacturers directions and the owner’s manual directions when it comes to installation is critical.
The fifth is harnessing. That depends on the type of car seat. With so many different types of seats and vehicles, officials urge people to get car seats inspected, even if they think they’ve put them in correctly.
“When you respond and you see children that are injured, and maybe because they weren’t in the car safely, and correctly, then it really, you know, it tears us apart, and we really want people to take that step because it’s so preventable,” said Tourtillotte.
For more information on where you can get your car seat inspected click here .
A free monthly inspection station will open in Bangor beginning in October.