On Tuesday, Aug. 20 members of the Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre with the infant development program teamed up with Pregnancy Outreach to offer a workshop on the importance of car seat safety.
For many first time parents, its been a long time since they last saw, much less used, a car seat.
As such the knowledge of proper car seat safety and how to easily install one in a vehicle is often lacking and requires something of a learning curve.
From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, however, Nancy Frost and a team of employees from the CCCDC and Pregnancy Outreach aimed to reduce this learning curve with a workshop. All told around six families came through to learn these important, and possibly life-saving, info Frost said.
Frost and other trained car seat techs assisted these individuals in properly installing their car seats and taught them tips and techniques to make sure their children were secure. When selecting a car seat, Frost said it is important to select one that will fit both the child and the vehicle as this will make it easier to use then one ill-fitted for either.
There are four main points that Frost and the others focused on, the first being the legality and regulations surrounding car seats. It’s important to ensure, she said, that your car seat follows both the provincial and federal laws and regulations and are approved by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.
They also went over the three positions of car seats including rear-facing, forward-facing and booster seats and when it’s appropriate to switch between them. Frost said this is primarily determined by the weight and height of the child, as well as age.
Proper installation was a big one, as many a parent can attest to spending hours wrestling with their car seats, and is also the more important. If done right, Frost said a car seat increases a child’s survival rate, in the result of an accident, upwards of 90 per cent. This combined with proper harnessing techniques is critical when using a car seat, Frost said.
If you can’t buy your car seat new, Frost advises parents to check the expiry date on the manufacturer label before purchasing the seat and checking for visible signs of wear and tear from an accident, like cracks in the plastic, rust or frayed harnesses.
“(Car seat safety) it saves lives,” Frost said. “We want to see our babies graduate.”
Frost advises those who did not attend the workshop to always ensure they keep the manuals for both their car seat and their vehicles to ensure your use of a car seat is proper. You can also review regulations and laws online at the ICBC website.
“If anyone has questions or concerns definitely contact us at the Child Development Centre or the POP and we can steer you in the right direction,” Frost said.