ROSWELL, Ga. - Car crashes are the number one cause of death for children. Sadly, many of the deaths can be prevented by making sure your child is in a properly installed car seat.
It's every parent's worst nightmare, a car crash leaves your child in danger. In 2015, there was a 10-percent increase in fatal car wrecks for children under the age of 13. The first line of defense is your child's car seat, and making sure it fits correctly has never been more important. It's Child Passenger Safety Week, and just a few moments of your time could help keep your child safe.
"That's the safest place for a child in the car," explains Roswell Fire Lieutenant Chris Cooper.
Lieutenant Chris Cooper works with Safe Kids North Fulton and helps parents check their car seats. He sees a lot of the same issues. "The harness clip will be in the incorrect spot, which is a very critical component of the child seat, the harness straps will be too loose, or the seat itself is too loose."
Safe Kids says, a staggering 73-percent of car seats are not installed correctly.
"It could be something very, very minor...But they're things that we would check," adds Lieutenant Cooper.
So for National Child Passenger Safety Week, safety advocates are urging you to take a moment out of your busy day to make sure your child is as safe as possible, because you don't ever want to wonder "what if."
"Come by, make an appointment and have the seat checked so that if something were to happen, it's unfortunate, but if something were to happen...we want you to feel comfortable that you had done all you could have done as a parent to safeguard the welfare of your child," says Lieutenant Cooper.
While most parents have the best of intentions, taking the car seat in and out while on the go can increase the risk of safety problems. Make sure it's properly installed every time. "For a rear facing seat, we want to make sure that we have the recline angle correct. This one does have a level indicator on it," shows Lieutenant Cooper.
And for their own safety, the recommendation is still that children under two years old stay rear facing as long as possible. " A rear facing seat absorbs more of the force of an impact, it transfers less to the child," adds Lieutenant Cooper.
Make an appointment, and leave it to the experts to catch something you could have overlooked. "You come in and we'll have several technicians on hand, to examine the seat to make sure it's installed correctly and there are no issues with the seat," says Lieutenant Cooper.
This week is Child Passenger Safety Week and Saturday is National Seat Check Saturday. There are several drop-in events scheduled around Metro Atlanta so that you can stop by and get your car seat checked out.
For more on local events: https://www.safekids.org/events/field_coalition/safe-kids-georgia?page=6
For more on car seat safety: https://www.Safekids.Org/ultimate-car-seat-guide/