September 19, 2012

Children’s Hospital offers free car seat checks

Dylan Hagan, 1, checks out the car seats in the Safety Store, located at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. Photo by Dana Johnson.

This week is National Child Passenger Safety Week, and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt is offering free car seat checks to the community on Saturday, Sept. 22, beginning at 10 a.m. Child passenger safety technicians will be on-hand to offer safety instructions and help drivers install and use car seats properly.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury-related death among children in Tennessee, and they also remain the leading cause of death for children ages 3-14 nationwide, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The organization estimates that nearly three out of four parents do not use child restraints properly.

What: Free Community Car Seat Checks

When: Saturday, Sept. 22

Where: Westhaven (1001 Westhaven Blvd, Franklin, Tenn., 37406)
                   10 a.m. to 1 p.m.


              Mt. Pleasant City Hall (100 Public Square, Mt. Pleasant, Tenn., 38474)
                   10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

According to safety experts at Children’s Hospital, the most common child passenger safety mistake seen in our region is parents transitioning children out of booster seats prematurely. In Tennessee, children should remain in a booster seat until they are 9 years old or have reached 4 feet, 9 inches in height.

Sarah Haverstick, Safe Children Program manager at Children’s Hospital, said car seats reduce the chance of death by 71 percent for infants and toddlers. However, nearly 85 percent of safety seats in Tennessee are not installed correctly, she says.

“Car seat checks are a great educational experience for families,” Haverstick said. “Technicians are able to check for proper installation, discuss any transportation concerns of the caregiver and then assist the caregiver in correctly installing the seat.

“Each check only takes about 30 minutes and offers great peace of mind for participants,” she said.

In addition, Children’s Hospital offers free, one-on-one car seat checks throughout the year at the hospital. Appointments can be made online here, or over the phone at (615) 936-1869.

This week’s efforts are in conjunction with Safe Kids Worldwide’s multifaceted child passenger safety program, Safe Kids Buckle Up, which has inspected 1.5 million car seats and held more than 550,000 car seat checks across the country.

A list of Children’s Hospital’s upcoming car seat checks can be viewed here. For additional car seat safety information, visit Children’s Hospital’s website.