Crew helps check car seats for safety

A representative from the Dayton Children’s says 75 to 90 percent of car seats are installed incorrectly — and a check of a local parking lot backed her claim.

As Jessica Saunders, community relations manager and Safe Kids Greater Dayton Coalition Coordinator for Dayton Children’s, helped check more than a dozen car seats at the Wapakoneta Family YMCA on Tuesday, she found something wrong with nearly every car seat they checked.

“There is usually something we find wrong,” said Saunders, who along with two other representatives from Dayton Children’s and a firefighter from Shawnee Township Fire Department checked the vehicles. “Sometimes the harness is not in the right place, or the child is not in the right car seat.”

Saunders said she sets up car set checks in several counties in Ohio to help make sure a car seat is installed properly in a vehicle, a child is in a proper car seat or booster seat for their age and weight and to educate parents on this topic.

“We do these to educate parents and for safety,” Saunders said.

In the parking lot of the Wapakoneta Family YMCA on Tuesday, Saunders, along with co-workers Kelli Sharp and Claudia Stiglich, checked car seats, and during this process, they educated parents on expired car seats.

“Yes, car seats can expire,” Saunders said. “It’s a lot to do with technology and technology has changes and car seats do take a beating.”

Saunders said that if they find an expired car seat during checks, then they will give the parent a new car seat for free, and they will help them install it in their vehicle.

On Tuesday, Saunders shared they did pull out a couple car seats that were expired and gave the owners new ones.

One of the car seats that had expired was a three-point harness, which are not sold anymore, as a five-point harness should be used.

Other instances they encounter is when the child has outgrown a car seat, and if Saunders sees this, she will provide the owner with a new one that is age and weight appropriate for the child.

“We are happy to come up from Dayton Children’s and do this,” Saunders said. “It’s nice the YMCA had a day care program, because a lot of clients today came out of the child program. This just shows a good partnership between the hospital and the YMCA.”