With a busy lifestyle and some families always on the go, it can be challenging to keep up with safety requirements with car seats for young children.
The Juneau County Health Department is looking to help those in the community with free monthly car seat safety inspections at the Mauston Area Ambulance Garage.
“Car seats and vehicles are always changing,” Jennifer Froh, community health educator for the Juneau County Health Department said. “It’s important to stay up on that so we are providing the best information we can.”
She said the health department averages 15-20 car seat safety inspections a month and hopes to see an increase in the number of people attending the car seats safety inspections.
She said she wants to make sure all community members with children in their lives, whether they are parents and grandparents, are transporting their children to their destination safely.
“Life is busy now, were always on the road and doing things” “Froh said. “(We want to) make sure when you are transporting that kid, they are in the safest possible spot and position and seat they can be in.”
The department can also answer questions from the different safety laws to if a child’s car seat is inserted properly.
Kim Kiel of Elroy had her car seat checked in December before her daughter, Adelyn, was born. When the base of the seat became loose, she wanted to make sure she was strapping her daughter in her car seat correctly.
“We wanted to see if we were hooking it up wrong and it turns out we were,” Kiel said. “Even though we were told how to do it four months ago, it was good to get a refresher because they can be kind of complicated.”
Kiel said she will be bringing Adelyn’s car seat for inspection as she advances to the different car seats for the different age and weight groups.
Dr. Ryan Plamann’s car seats also passed the inspections. Plamann is a pediatrician at Mile Bluff Medical Center and at times receives questions from parents about car seats. Plamann is a father himself to three children-a five year old, a three and a half year old and a one year old.
“One thing is you are not supposed to have any protector between the seats,” Plamann said of what he learned at the inspection. “Also reaffirming some of the age (requirements).”
He said it is good to have the experts at the health department educating the community about the importance of getting car seats inspected and to remind those with children in their lives about car seat safety practices.
“Things change with time,” he said. “Things that were done ten to twenty years ago are not safe now.”
Froh said the health department received a grant from the Department of Transportation to purchase seats for families in need, ranging from rear-facing seats for infants less than a year old or less than 20 pounds to booster seats for children ages 4 through 8, weighing between 40 through 80 pounds and no more than 57 inches. Because of liability purposes, the health department cannot take donations of car seats.
“If a family shows and they don’t have a seat that is fitting the child properly or it’s an old, expired seat,” Froh said. “We can move that child into a seat so when they leave our safety check they are in the safest possible seat they can be in.”
Car seat inspections will take place the first Thursday of every month at the Mauston Area Ambulance Garage from 3:30pm-5:30pm.