Our children are so precious and every time we place them in their car seats we trust those car seats to ensure their safety. But were you aware that the misuse rates range from 44% to 81% for car seats and 30% to 50% in booster seats (Canadian Paediatric Society). I don’t know about you but that statistic terrified me! Especially when considering that a properly used car seat reduces the risk of fatal injury by 71% and the risk of serious injury by 67% (Canadian Paediatric Society).
Part of the problem (I believe anyways!) is that the car seats themselves are constantly changing along with the rules and regulations. To be honest, I had such a hard time installing our car seat that I gave up and asked my husband to finish it. I could not get the restraints tight enough no matter how hard I tried.
With those statistics in mind and child safety at the forefront, Chevrolet is launching the national Safe and Sure Child Car Seat Installation Workshop Program. Families can receive expert advice on installing car seats into any make or model of vehicle for free. Yup – for free.You can sign up for the free workshops at Safe and Sure.
The workshops were piloted in Toronto during 2012 and 2013. Due to overwhelming positive response from parents, grandparents and caregivers (yes the program is open to any one who will be responsible for driving a child in a car seat!), Chevrolet is working with Parachute to offer this program in three major cities.
If you are not familiar with Parachute they are a charitable organization dedicated to preventing injuries and saving lives. They officially came into being in July 2012 and united the former Safe Communities Canada, Safe Kids Canada, SMARTRISK and ThinkFirst Canada. You can learn more about them on their website.
With all of this in mind, our whole family headed out to Budds Chevrolet in Oakville to have our car seats examined and re-installed if needed. We were a bit worried that the boys would be bored but they were very happy when they received Hot Wheel cars! While I headed outside to learn about car seats the boys stayed inside checking out the cars and taking photographs of each one (no lie here – his favourite one is now our desktop image!).
I learned so much this past weekend at my workshop. As well as learning the how to’s on how to ensure a snug fit with an inch or less movement at the base, I was able to get hands on with the representative and help out.
Some important things to remember:
- Car seats have an expiry date! If the date is not listed on the actual car seat you can call the manufacturer directly to get the expiry date.
- Never use a car seat that has been involved in an accident. If you do not know the car seat’s history don’t purchase it (for used and borrowed car seats). Even with no visible damage, a crash can damage the integrity of the car seat.
- Never rush a child out of the booster seat. The booster seat works to position the adult seat belt over the strong bones of the body. Children should not move into a seat belt until they are 145cm (4’9″). Always make sure to check your provincial laws around booster seats.
- Only use attachments or cloth protectors under the car seat that have been tested with the car seat by the manufacture.
Check out this great video about the workshops:
Have you ever attended a car seat workshop in the past? Do you have any recommendations for first time parents out there?