Saturday, April 17, 2010

Child Car Seat Safety

According to the Virginia Department of Heatlh, motor vehicle crashes continue to be the number one cause of unintentional injury death of children between 1 and 8 years old in Virginia. Crash data for 2008 shows that 58 percent of children who were killed in a car crash were not properly restrained.

Virginia established the Safety Seat Check Program in 1999, and since 2006 has checked over 10,000 safety seats. This service thrives on the dedication of fire companies, police agencies and other community service groups to bring this free statewide resource to all parents, grandparents and caregivers in Virginia. This program is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through a grant from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

To make an appointment with a Safety Seat Check Station near you, visit, or call 1-800-732-8333 to obtain contact information for your local station.

After making an appointment with a station, parents should attempt to install the safety seat in their vehicles. It’s important for parents to bring their vehicle and safety seat manuals with them. Also, if possible, it’s a good idea to bring their children with them as well. After completing a brief form, a technician will review the installation of the seat and how well the child is secured in the seat. The technician will then help parents correct any errors and will answer any other questions about child passenger safety. Proper safety seat installation takes approximately 20 minutes per safety seat.

Loudoun County Fire and Rescue personnel follow the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration curriculum for child passenger safety. County firefighters have been trained to provide parents, grandparents, childcare providers or anyone who transports a child, information on properly installing a child safety seat.

To schedule an appointment to have your child seat inspected, call a station in your area of Loudoun County. Because of the large number of requests for this service, please remember to schedule your visit well in advance of your due date. For a list of the Loudoun County Fire Stations and their contact information, visit the county's child safety seat Web page, or call 703-771-5551.

The Leesburg Police Department is also a Virginia Department of Health Safety Seat Check Station. Call 703-771-4564 for an appointment.

To speak with a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician regarding child safety seat use, call 1-800-732-8333.

And if you would like to watch an instructional video on the proper way to install your child's safety seat, the Virginia Department of Health offers several online videos.

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