Parents learn about car seat safety at first responder training in Missoula

MISSOULA – More than half of the country’s car seats are used incorrectly.

Drive Safe Missoula attempted to change that number on Friday by participating in a car seat installation event at the Missoula Emergency Services Training Center.

The event was the culmination of a four-day training for first responders and public health professionals who learned how to test and install car seats.

The new parents, arriving at the training center, were welcomed by a team of professionals who measured the child and installed the new seats.

Drive Safe Missoula coordinator Steve Schmidt anecdotally said he’s seen four out of five parents get the installation wrong.

“We’ve seen everything from duct tape to bungee cords being used,” Schmidt said.

“It’s vitally important that they are installed correctly and that parents know how to use them so that little ones are as safe as possible in cars,” Schmidt continued.

Car seat installation events often happen around Missoula. Check the calendar at https://www.drivesafemissoula.com/ for the nearest locations and times.

Alivia Williams – mother to nine-month-old Roscoe – attended the event because her son was outgrowing his old car seat.

Williams let the professionals take her new car seat out of the box and straight into her car.

“It’s a new thing for me and I don’t want to take any chances,” Williams said. “It’s not something I’m willing to risk.”

The non-profit organization Safe Kids has these tips for keeping your child safe in the car:

  • The back seat is the best. This is the safest place for all children under 13. Not all cars allow installing a car seat in every place equipped with a seat belt. Check your car’s owner’s manual to see where you can put a car seat.
  • Beware of toys in the car. Choose toys that are soft and won’t hurt your child in a crash. Secure all loose objects in the car.
  • Put on your seat belt. We know that when adults wear seat belts, children wear seat belts. So be a good example and fasten your seatbelt for every ride. Make sure everyone in the vehicle also buckles up.
  • Never leave your child alone in a car, even for a minute.

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