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Parents learn about child car-seat safety in Great Falls

Parents learn about child car-seat safety in Great Falls
Posted at 7:14 AM, Sep 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-19 09:14:12-04

The Cascade City-County Health Department alongside Great Falls Fire Rescue collaborated in teaching parents the importance of child car-seat safety and inspections.

Fire Station One in Great Falls was packed as cars lined up to get their car seats checked. Car seats were also provided to what they felt was appropriate for the type of car and their children.

CCHD Public Health Nurse Megan Brunelle said it can be very complicated, especially for first-time parents. She said that every car and car seat is different, which is why it's easy to make mistakes.

CCHD Public Health Nurse Megan Brunelle
CCHD Public Health Nurse Megan Brunelle

Brunelle explained, "One of the main things people do incorrectly with car seat installations is they will use both the latch system, which is lower anchors, and the seat belt at the same time to have the car seat installed. You should be using one or the other. Both are equally as safe as long as you are using one or the other."

A complicated process, both the CCHD and GFFR took various questions from parents, such as how long their child can be rear facing, how long their child can stay in the car seat, as well as the necessary weight their child must be.

"All of that information can be found in the user car seat manual, or right on the side of the car seat. We recommend, as does child safety experts, that you are rear facing as long as possible. Even past two years old.

CCHD and GFFR provided scales and other resources to help determine if the child still needs a car seat, and what kind of car seat they should have.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1-13.

GFFR Lieutenant Maren Reilly said properly checking car seats can drastically decrease the chances of fatality.

GFFR Lieutenant Maren Reilly
GFFR Lieutenant Maren Reilly

"Statistics are, properly installed car seats reduces the risk of injury or death 80 percent in children. It's super important that you have your seats installed correctly, that your child is on there correctly, and that you are keeping your children as safe as possible.

Reilly also mentioned the most important safety tips that parents should keep in mind.

Reilly said, "Anytime you put your child in the seat, you are checking to make sure it's secure, making sure it's not loose. Checking to make sure the straps are where they need to be, that your child hasn't grown. Where the strap placement is, is important, and as your child grows, you're going to want to adjust that."

If you missed the event, the CCHD and GFFR will help install car seats for those who need help.

For more info:
Cascade City-County Health Department: 406-454-6950; 115 Fourth Street South
Great Falls Fire Rescue: 406-727-8070; 105 Ninth Street South