Every parent has struggled with it. It's big, bulky, and awkward to handle. And you can never quite get it tight enough.
It’s a child-safety seat, of course, and safety experts swear by them for preventing injuries to children in auto accidents. But if you have ever tried to do it, you know how challenging installation can be.
That's where Virginia Farm Bureau Safety is stepping in. Beginning March 1, 2012, the VAFB West Creek office became an official Child Safety Seat Fit Station. 12580 West Creek Parkway will be listed on the Virginia Department of Health and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration websites as a free place for parents and other caregivers to go to get their child-safety seat installed properly.
“Each car and seat is unique, and trying to match them up can sometimes be a daunting task for parents or other caregivers,” said Jimmy Maass, Virginia Farm Bureau Safety Manager. “It’s important that the seat be installed correctly so it will protect your child should you be involved in a crash. According to the NHSTA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), crashes are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 3 and 14.”
The new program means anyone, regardless of whether they are a Farm Bureau member, can call the VFB safety program and schedule an appointment to come to our building and have their safety seat inspected by a nationally certified technician, Maas said. Appointments will typically be on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays, and can be scheduled same-day if a participant calls ahead, he said.
“Parents should bring the child who will use the seat, if at all possible, and expect to spend between 20 and 30 minutes for each seat that’s inspected and installed,” Maass said. “We first check the seat to see if the parent installed it correctly and explain anything we might find. We then remove the seat, check for recalls or problems, then make sure the child fits properly in the seat. Finally, we show the parent how to install the seat correctly and allow them to install it with our advice and assistance.”
Surveys have shown that 75% to 80% of all child-safety seats are improperly installed, Maass said.
“We’re also going to offer this service to county Farm Bureaus if they’d like to have a free car seat check day in their area,” Maass said. “They’ll need to contact us to schedule those events.”