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    Munson Army Health Center conducts car seat safety inspections

    Munson Army Health Center conducts car seat safety inspections

    Photo By Maria Christina Yager | #DYK that car seats expire? Jennifer Smith, from Munson Army Health Center’s...... read more read more



    Story by Maria Christina Yager 

    Munson Army Health Center Public Affairs

    FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kansas -- Parents and caregivers can reduce the risk of serious injuries and death by making sure children are properly buckled in car seats, booster seats, and seat belts that are appropriate for their age and size.

    “Studies have shown that children who are correctly using the appropriate restraint for their sizes and ages are at a significantly lower risk of sustaining serious or fatal injuries,” said Jennifer Smith, a neuropsychometrist and certified child safety seat technician, assigned to the concussion clinic at Munson Army Health Center.

    Smith and fellow team member Susan Landers, a registered nurse and nurse case manager assigned to Munson’s behavioral health clinic, recently held a car seat safety round-up on Fort Leavenworth. Participants came out to the health center parking lot in their personally owned vehicles so Smith and Landers, also CCSST qualified, could physically inspect installed car seats and give participants feedback.

    “We are checking the car seat in the car and showing them how to install it correctly. Our goal is to make it so they are comfortable installing it into any car and they know what they are looking for to make sure it is installed properly,” said Smith.

    “Sometimes the baby may go in a car with mom, or dad or grandparents. Each time the car seat is moved to a different vehicle, it is important to make sure the car seat is installed correctly,” said Landers.

    In addition to checking that the car seat is installed correctly, parents and caregivers should also check how the straps are fitting the child because as children grow the straps will need to be adjusted.

    Car seats are designed to grow with a child, but at some point, a child will outgrow their safety seat.

    “We reiterate that children remain rear facing for as long as possible,” said Smith. She suggests parents pick a car seat with the highest weight and height limit for rear-facing use because that is the safest position for little bodies in the event of a motor vehicle accident.

    Each car seat is different so Smith said that parents should look at the owner’s manual, which will list the minimum and maximum weight and height of a child the car safety seat is intended for.

    “You want the child to max one of those categories before moving up, so you don’t move them on too early,” she said.

    Landers agreed, “All children are different. Some may be big for their age, others may be small, which is why we recommend using height or weight to determine when it is time to change seats.”

    Ultimately, when parents or caregivers choose to move a child to the next size car safety seat, there are additional considerations.

    “A lot of times people don’t know there is an expiration date on a car seat,” said Landers. “Typically, that information may be found in the user manual, but in general a car seat should be retired about 10 years after the date it was manufactured because the integrity of the plastic breaks down over time.”

    At that point the car seat should be removed from service and broken down. This involves cutting and removing all straps and webbing and writing “trash, do not use” on the car seat shell before disposing in the trash. Some communities may accept car seats to recycle the plastic to make resin for use in items like shampoo bottles, building materials and other components.

    Car seats involved in an accident should not be reused, regardless of expiration date, even if it looks okay.

    This is one reason Smith and Landers caution parents from placing children in used car seats.

    “Unless you know the history of the seat, we don’t recommend used car seats,” said Landers, explaining that the seat may be beyond its life cycle or damaged and may not perform as intended in an accident.

    Lastly, the team covered after-market accessories.

    “A lot of parents will put up the mirrors and the hanging toys on and around the car seat but, in an accident or hard stop, those items can easily become projectiles. So, we don’t recommend those,” said Landers.

    On Fort Leavenworth, parents may visit for information on scheduling a car safety seat inspection.

    Or, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains a directory of many inspection stations. Visit to find a free inspection in your community.



    Date Taken: 03.29.2024
    Date Posted: 03.29.2024 16:27
    Story ID: 467413

    Web Views: 45
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