Car Seat Check

When getting your car ready for a new arrival, the car seat can feel daunting. It's not always the easiest thing to install, the instructions can be confusing, and you know that getting this right could actually be a life or death scenario. As many as 75% of car seats may be installed incorrectly. Many baby books and websites suggest that new parents get their installation checked.

But where do you do that?

Most people automatically assume the fire or police department is the place to go. The logic is sound. These are community workers trained in safety, they're local, and it seems like a smart choice. Many of them are happy to take a look and let you know if you're on the right track. They want to help, and many have children of their own that they've installed seats for. However, this may not actually be the smartest thing. Not every firefighter, police officer or nurse is a certified child passenger safety technician (usually referred to as a CPST).  And the reality is that unless you go to a CPST, the person you are relying on is probably not aware of all the nuances of different seat belt systems and different car seats.

The smartest thing is to call your local police (non emergency number, of course!) and ask if they have any CPSTs on staff, and if so, if that individual is available for car seat checks. Many departments do periodic "car seat clinics" where you can make an appointment and get a qualified person to help you. And if they don't have anyone on staff (and other local places don't either) you can do an online search for "CPST in (area)", and you'll have a place to start!

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