“What we see is that about 90-95% of car seats in our area have at least one if not more mistakes in how their either installed, or the child is harnessed, of if the child is even in the correct seat,” says Kathleen Clary-Cooke with Safe Kids Benton-Franklin.
Safe Kids hosts free, monthly car seat inspections in the parking garage at Kadlec Medical Center in Richland. The next scheduled inspection is Wednesday, July 11, 2018.
“Washington state is a proper use state, which means you have to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines,” says Clary-Cooke. Any guidelines that come with the car seat need to be followed as far as height, weight, and installation in your vehicle.
Washington state law requires children to remain in a car seat or child booster until they’re at least 8 years old, or until an adult seat belt fits them properly.
“For most kids, that’s not until age 10 or 12,” says Clary-Cooke. “That one is really about height, they have to be at least 8 years old, but that adult seat belt isn’t going to fit them until they’re about 4-foot 9-inches tall.”
Clary-Cooke says many parents misread the regulation and miss the part about height.
In the case of kids sitting in the front seat, age is the determining factor.
“That one is about bone density,” says Clary-Cooke. “That air bag comes out at hundreds of miles an hour, and can seriously injure or kill a child because of the velocity.”
Developmentally, a child’s bone structure doesn’t begin to harden until about the time they go through puberty.
“Kids come in all shapes and sizes, so even if a kid has the height, they don’t have the bone density until they’re older,” Clary-Cooke says.
If you would like more information, or to make an appointment for a car seat inspection, contact Kathleen Clary-Cooke at 509.460.4214 or email [email protected]