Story by Emily Robertson
While car seats are designed to protect a family’s most precious passengers, the statistics regarding car seat use are sobering. According to buckleupforlife.org, only one in four car seats are installed properly, but when used correctly, child safety seats are 71% effective in reducing infant fatalities, 67% effective in reducing the need for hospitalization and 54% effective in reducing fatalities for children ages one to four. These statistics are what keep the volunteers at Car Seat Safety Matters in Warren County working each year to help families protect their littlest travelers.
The organization first began in 2015 when Kinny Landrum and Misti Wilson, who now serves as the organization’s president, began to discuss how to help educate families in our area about the importance of car seat safety.
“After several meetings, we concluded that we would offer a free car seat safety check event and replace car seats, free of charge, at the event that were deemed unsafe,” Wilson said.
At past car seat check events, which are held twice a year, the organization would average 54 appointments per event. At the next event, scheduled for April, there will be only 36 appointments available so that technicians can spend 30 minutes with each appointment. To date, Car Seat Safety Matters has served 488 families in the community and replaced 447 car seats that were deemed unsafe.
“At our event, all registrants can expect to have their seat checked or installed by a Nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Technician,” Wilson said. “We will also provide education on correct installation, proper harnessing of the child, and safe maintenance of the car seat.”
Car Seat Safety Matters is a 501©3 non-profit organization that is ran by eight board members and numerous volunteers and sponsors. Not every volunteer for the organization must have specific training in order to help at events, but volunteers who perform the seat checks must be Nationally Certified CPS Technicians who have previously completed the rigorous National Child Passenger Safety Certification Training. This training includes a three to four day class that utilizes class participation and hands-on skill assessments.
Car Seat Safety Matters is funded through families, business owners and other organizations and agencies in the community that become sponsors.
The organization is always looking for more individuals to get involved with their Free Car Seat Check events. Another great way to become involved is by donating to the organization to help put on the events and allow for new car seats to be purchased.
“Everyone who helps with the events just want to help children in our community be safer while riding in the vehicle and parents to be educated properly on car seat safety,” Wilson said. “If we can save one child’s life, we have succeeded!”
If you are unable to attend the organization’s next event, there are some simple guidelines to follow that will help the children in your vehicle be as safe as possible.
“We always recommend that parents buy a new car seat for their child, rear face their child’s car seat until age two, and to follow best practices,” Wilson said. “We want the community to know that they have a local resource here in Warren County to have their car seats checked and installed at one of our events.”
The next free car seat check event is scheduled for Saturday, April 21 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bowling Green Fire Department, Station 5. In order to participate, you must register for an appointment. For more information on the organization and their events visit their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/carseatsafetymatters or their website www.carseatsafetymatters.com.