Janesville emergency responders teach best practices for installing car seats

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JANESVILLE, Wis (WMTV) - First responders in Janesville held a car seat inspection clinic on Thurs. in order to help parents correctly install them.

Dan Benz, a paramedic with the Janesville Fire Dept., said they offer the program once a month at the fire station located on Newport Ave. to assist parents in protecting the lives of the city’s youngest residents.

“We see a lot of times that seats are not secured safely within the car or that there is wiggle room, that they are not secured tight enough or that the children themselves are not secured tightly enough,” he said.

Each inspection takes about 30 minutes and is free of charge. Trained seat technicians inspect, instruct and install the seats. The department also has safety seats available if parents need one.

Benz said they recommend children under the age of two sit in a rear-facing car seat. Wisconsin state law requires a child under the age of one and under 20 pounds to sit in a rear-facing seat. In Sept. local lawmakers introduced a bill that would change the law to two years, however, the bill is stalled in the Assembly.

“The direction of the seat is dictated on maturity of the child, so as the child grows that seat position will also change,” he said.

Jeanette McCurdy had a car seat installed for her grandson. She said she was glad to have the help of professionals, as the process can be tricky to tackle alone.

“I was a little bit afraid of putting those latches in to be real secure but he did a fantastic job and made it look pretty easy for me,” she said.

Benz also recommended to not purchase accessories for the car seat and use what comes in the box. He said even if the item states it is crash-tested, it often is not. He said if someone is unsure of the best fit for their child, they should call their local fire or police dept.

For additional car seat inspection dates click HERE