By Derek Gean
Public Affairs Office

The Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department is scheduled to host a Car Safety Seat Inspection from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 24 at the Exchange parking lot.

The Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department is scheduled to host a Car Safety Seat Inspection from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 24 at the Exchange parking lot. (Courtesy photo)

This event will give parents the opportunity to have their childrens’ car seats checked by certified inspectors for proper installation.

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control, 90 percent of car seats are installed in vehicles incorrectly.

“It is very disappointing to read about such statistics since many of these fatalities are preventable. Taking the extra 60 seconds to ensure you and your passengers are properly restrained is all it takes,” said Kevin Curtis, assistant fire chief. “We all want our Fort Leonard Wood community children to travel safely in cars.”

The installation fire department has inspectors and technicians who are certified by the Safe Kids Worldwide. According to Curtis, the CDC statistic also holds up locally, but he hopes to see those statistics trend downward through education and events such as this.

“Fort Leonard Wood fire inspectors / certified car seat techs see around 90 percent of the car seats installed incorrectly,” Curtis said.

Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States, but many of these deaths can be prevented, he added.

“In the United States, 663 children, ages 12 years and younger, died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes during 2015, and more than 121,350 were injured in 2014. One CDC study found that, in one year, more than 618,000 children ages 0 to 12 rode in vehicles without the use of a child safety seat or booster seat or a seat belt at least some of the time. Of the children ages 12 years and younger who died in a crash in 2015 (for which restraint use was known), 35 percent were not buckled up,” Curtis said.

Curtis said it is important to promote best practices for restraint safety, such as going to the max height/weight limits before transitioning to the next restraint.

Thanks to ever-changing laws and education, Curtis said, overall, motor vehicle injuries and fatalities are going down and it’s a trend he hopes events such as this help extend.

To participate in the event, parents are asked to bring the car seat, car safety seat owner’s manual and the vehicle owner’s manual. In the event of inclement weather, the inspection will be held at Fort Leonard Wood Fire Station 1. For parents who cannot make the event, appointments can be scheduled at the fire department during normal working hours, which are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

For more information about the event, car seat safety or to schedule an inspection appointment during regular working hours, contact Curtis or inspectors at the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department at 573.596.0886.