BY CADY KUZMICH
Clifton Park — The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee announced Feb 10 that free child car seat inspections will be made available in Saratoga County until Feb 27. Livingston and Niagara counties will have free child car seat inspections, as well.
The decision to provide this free service is part of a year-long safety initiative by state and local police.
Those who take advantage of this service will not only have their child safety seat inspected, but can seek guidance in finding the right type of car seat for their child, depending on age and size.
“New York State offers this free service to better protect our children when traveling,” said DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan. “Properly installed car seats can greatly reduce the risk of death and injury during a crash, so I encourage motorists to use this opportunity to make sure children are properly buckled into their car seats before hitting the road.”
The role of the initiative is to ensure all parents and caregivers have the resources available to properly secure their children in their vehicles, appropriately. According to the press release, children should be placed in child safety seats from birth to age 12. Safety measures include rear-facing safety seats, forward-facing seats, booster seats and seat belts.
Citing research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the DMV said child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers in passenger cars.
Child safety seat checks will be available by appointment Feb 16 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Clifton Park Halfmoon Ambulance at 15 Crossing Boulevard in Clifton Park. Appointments can be made by calling Trooper Donald Fougere at (518) 783-3258
Another safety seat check will be held Feb 27 at the New Country Toyota at 202 Route 146 in Mechanicville from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In order to make an appointment, call Cynthia Dort at (518) 885-8995 or (518) 424-8340.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests parents and caregivers choose a car seat based on children’s size and age.NHTSA also advises parents to keep their children in the back seat until age 12.
Some common safety mistakes noted by NHTSA include using the wrong harness slot, positioning the harness chest clip over the abdomen rather than the best, loose installation and incorrect seat belt placement.
An alarming statistic from the NHTSA showed 20 percent of all drivers of child passengers didn’t read any instructions on how to properly install their child restrains, “yet 90 percent felt “confident” or “very confident” that their car seats and booster seats were installed correctly.”