Free check of child safety seats Wednesday

CHP officer Adam Rodriguez shows Martha Solis of Hollister the correct way to adjust the safety seat for her 7-month-old son, Jesse, at a car safety seat check-up last year.

Concerned parents and anyone who travels with children in a car
are invited to a free car safety seat check-up Wednesday.
Concerned parents and anyone who travels with children in a car are invited to a free car safety seat check-up Wednesday.

The check-up, which will run from 3-7 p.m. at Greenwood Chevrolet on San Felipe Road, is being sponsored by the San Benito County Safe Kids Coalition.

According to a recent study, approximately 87 percent of California motorists misuse or improperly install child safety seats. In San Benito County, 96.4 percent of motorists misuse child safety seats, said San Benito County Health Educator Suzi Deeb.

“It’s just as important to use a safety seat correctly as it is to have one in the car,” Deeb said.

Low-cost safety and booster seats will also be available for $30 for those who qualify financially. Deeb said no checks or bills larger than $20 will be accepted and motorists must bring the safety or booster seats they’re currently using.

By state law, all children 6 years and younger or weighing less than 60 pounds must be in a safety seat when riding in a vehicle.

Members of the California Highway Patrol and the Hollister Fire Department will volunteer their time and expertise at the check-up. Hollister Fire Chief Bill Garringer said it’s not unusual for firefighters to help because the fire department does more than just fight fires.

“It’s basically part of the community service that we try to provide,” he said.

Garringer said Hollister has three firefighters who have received special training on how to properly install child safety seats.

“Those things are more complicated than you think. You don’t just put the seat belt through it and snap it on,” Garringer said.

The three safety seat technicians usually work on rotating shifts so that anyone having problems properly fitting their safety or booster seat in a car can go to the fire department for help, Garringer said.

He said since firefighters are the ones who have to extricate victims from vehicle accidents, they want to do what they can to cut down on the number of children hurt or killed in accidents.

Nationwide, 1,579 children age 14 and younger have died in vehicle crashes this year and approximately 228,000 have been injured, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s an average of 30 deaths and more than 4,300 injuries each week.

Vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among children under 14, according to the NHTSA.

For more information, call Deeb at 636-4011.

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