Child car seats can be the difference between life and death, according to experts.
“Anywhere between 80 and 90 percent of car seats are not properly installed,” said Kirsten Taylor, Child Passenger Safety Specialist for Memorial Health Systems.
Taylor is among a team of professionals that teach parents and caregivers how to properly install a car seat or a booster seat and how to safely use a seat belt.
Colorado law requires children under 8-years-old to be properly restrained in a child restraint system.
Taylor said she really cares about the height of a child, rather than age, when it comes to just wearing a seatbelt.
“We really want to make sure the child is over 4’9” and that they can sit with their bottom all the way back in the seat, have their knees bent over the seat and that they can stay that way the entire ride,” said Taylor.
Infants must ride in a rear-facing car seat until age 1, however, Taylor recommends 2 years of age.
Children between the ages of 1 and 4 who weight more than 20 pounds must be properly restrained in a car seat, according to state law.
Taylor recommends that each car seat be equipped with a five-point harness system. The harness touches each shoulder, each hip and secures the pelvic area.
“Race car drivers use the five point harness system for a reason. It’s the safest way to be in a vehicle” said Taylor.
Taylor said a common and dangerous mistake some parents make is holding a child in their laps.
“The restraining force it would take with a child on your lap, we as humans don’t possess. Our arms are not strong enough to stop a child and keep them safe,” said Taylor.
A free car seat inspection is taking place on Thursday, March 7, at the Tim Gill Center located at 315 E. Costilla St. from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.