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Car seat safety event Saturday important to have

If you have a child or a grandchild, you no doubt have experienced the frustration and exasperation that often comes with trying to install a car seat in your vehicle and then strapping your baby or toddler safely into it before beginning a trip.

It’s worth all of that work — a properly installed car seat can help prevent a serious injury or save the life of your child in the event of a traffic collision, officials once again are reminding us.

That’s why an event like the car seat safety day event planned for Saturday is important. A trooper from the Ohio State Highway Patrol and officials with the Toronto Emergency Medical Service Joint Ambulance District will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Ohio Department of Transportation garage at 525 county Road 43 to conduct free inspections and ensure car seats are properly installed.

Participating in the check, which is made possible through a donation from State Farm Insurance agent Casie Johnson, is important, safety officials explained while pointing out that 59 percent of randomly checked car seats were improperly installed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Those mistakes include failing to attach the seat tightly to the vehicle, failing to fasten the harness tightly around the child and improperly using the chest and locking clips.

Statistics surrounding the use of car seats are sobering: NHTSA reports that in 2018, one child under the age of 13 in a passenger vehicle was involved in a crash every 32 seconds.

And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 675 children 12 and younger died and 116,000 were injured as occupants in motor vehicle crashes. Sadly, of the children 12 years old and younger who died in a crash in 2017, 35 percent were not buckled up.

The National Safety Council, meanwhile, added that car seat use reduces the risk for injury in a crash by between 71 percent and 82 percent, and the CDC said booster seats can reduce the risk for serious injury by 45 percent for children between the ages of 4 and 8.

Planners of Saturday’s event said there will be a limited number of replacement seats available for those who have seats that are expired, have been recalled or don’t properly fit the child involved.

And, as Capt. Jeremiah Lucas of TEMS pointed out, seats are available for income-eligible families through the Buckles Buckeyes program run through the Ohio Department of Health.

Properly using a car seat or a booster seat can make all the difference between your child arriving at his or destination safely, Rob Herrington, chief at Wintersville Fire and Rescue, said.

And that makes all of the effort and attention you put into your car seat worth it.

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