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Safe Kids Benton-Franklin offering car seat checks

Safe Kids Benton-Franklin offering car seat checks 

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- September is child passenger safety awareness month, and Safe Kids Benton-Franklin is checking car seats to make sure kids in our community are strapped in safely.

Car seats are getting safer and safer, but also more complicated to use. Safe Kids Coordinator Kathleen Clary-Cooke said more than 90 percent of the parents they see have their kids incorrectly strapped in.

Virginia Garcia is a mom of nine, so she's familiar what a car seat or two. But that didn't stop Garcia from getting hers checked Wednesday.

“You never stop learning,” Garcia said. “There's a lot I didn't know.”

And she found out both of her car seats need to be replaced.

“I did know that car seats have recalls and have expiration dates,” Garcia said. “I didn't know how to check or how to find out.”

But Garcia is not alone in the struggle to figure out car seat safety.

“For us to get a kid that's in the right seat, right size, installed correctly--less than five percent of the time,” Clary-Cooke said. “Either they're not in the right seat, it's not installed quite right. Or they're not harnessed in right.”

Clary-Cooke said parents should keep their little ones rear facing until two-years-old and shouldn't switch to a booster seat until five or six.

“Sometimes what we see is a little something that we need to tweak,” Clary-Cooke said. “And other times we see things that are kind of scary. We've had car seats come in today that were expired, that were recalled, and parents don't know.”

Her biggest tip? Read the car seat owner’s manual cover to cover.

“Some people read it and they find it confusing, and that's why we're here,” she said.

And when in doubt, get your seat checked by a certified technician at Safe Kids Benton Franklin.

“Not all crashes are survivable,” Clary-Cooke said. “But by using a car seat the right way, you're giving your child the best possible chance to survive that crash.”

Anyone can take their car seats to get checked for free on Saturday, 23 September at the Benton County Fire District 4 building on Bombing Range Road in West Richland from 10 am to 2 pm.

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