Athens City-County Health Department

Athens City-County Health Department offers free car seat checks

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ATHENS, OHIO – Motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for children in the United States. For parents who have children that need car seats, public health officials say it is imperative to make sure the seat is installed correctly.

Car seats on display for purchase at Walmart | Courtesy of Cole Patterson
Car seats are on display for purchase at Walmart [ Cole Patterson | WOUB]
To help with the proper instillation of car seats, The Athens City-County Health Department is now providing a free service for people to ensure their car seats are properly installed. Community members can schedule an appointment to have their car seat checked at the Health Department.

We have a certified passenger safety technician. Her name is Bryce Bale, and she’ll come out to our parking lot and do the inspection right here.” said Megan Buskirk, the Maternal and Child Health Coordinator at the Athens City-County Health Department.

Many parents across Southeastern Ohio are no stranger to experiencing difficulties, and sometimes making these mistakes.

“I think one of the hardest parts about car seats is the instillation. So just knowing that there are ways that you can check and just make sure,” said Katelyn Balli, a mother of two who lives in Athens County. “It’s really helpful to know that you can just go and get it checked and not have to feel dumb about it. You can just say, hey just make sure that this is okay, because the safety of our kids matters.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 2,600 children under 13 are involved in a car crash daily – that’s one child every 33 seconds.

According to the National Digital Car Seat Check Form (NDCF), more than half of all car seats brought in for inspection to child passenger safety technicians are improperly installed and used. In fact, NDCF found that 73% of forward-facing car seats are improperly installed.

Most states even have programs that allow families to receive a free car seat.

States that offer free car seats
Graphic of states that offer free car seats

The NDCF found three common mistakes when installing a car seat. They include (1) having the car seat installation be too loose, (2) failing to use the tether when installing a forward-facing car seat with either the lower anchors or seat belt, and (3) leaving harness straps too loose when securing a child in a car seat.

You can never be too sure of something when it comes to your child’s safety, so it may be worth scheduling a free car seat check just to clarify that everything is secure.

The Athens City-County Health Department is open Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 4:00pm. To schedule an appointment, call 740-592-4431.