Free child safety seat inspections Tuesday
BARSTOW • The Barstow California Highway Patrol will conduct free child passenger safety seat inspections Tuesday in the parking lot of Walmart.
The event will run from 10 a.m. to noon.
“Child restraint systems are often used incorrectly,” Barstow CHP Officer Don Spiker said. “Approximately 75 percent of the seats I inspect are installed incorrectly.”
The free inspections come during National Child Passenger Safety Week, which began Sunday and ends Saturday.
Stats collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that among 4- to 8-year-olds, there is strong evidence of reduced risk of injury during a crash when a child is restrained in a safety seat rather than a lap-and-shoulder belt alone, according to a CHP news release.
A CHP spotter program exists where the public can report unrestrained children by calling 1-800-TELL-CHP. A letter will be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle in question explaining the safety concerns of driving with an unrestrained child. First offense violators can be fined $100 and potentially more after penalty assessments, according to the news release.
A subsequent violation carries a minimum fine of $1,055, the news release states.
CHP currently has more than 600 certified safety seat installation technicians within the department who complete nearly 1,500 inspections monthly.
“Most parents go off the instruction manual of the car seat and don’t read the vehicle’s owner manual,” Spiker said. “There is much more to installing a car seat then just belting it to the seat. A parent must know how the seat belt locks the seat in place. They need to know how to properly secure the child to the seat. They need to know if the seat they have is appropriate for their child.”
“When I inspect a seat,” he continued, “I never lecture a parent, I instruct them. The reason is, the information and knowledge is not always available to the parents.”