A 2016 Journal of Pediatrics study found 95 percent of child safety seats were misused. Eighty-six percent had positioning errors and 77 percent were incorrectly installed. That number was significantly reduced for families who worked with a child passenger safety technician.
Jennifer Hacker, child passenger safety technician at Riley Physicians in Bloomington, provides seat safety checks for anyone who schedules an appointment.
Appointments with her can be scheduled by calling 812-333-2304.
People can also have checks done in Bedford and Martinsville, Indiana.
Hacker said between the three locations, the safety technicians do about 150 to 200 checks a year.
“We don’t nearly see the amount that we should,” Hacker said. “It would be nice to see more.”
She said car seats are complicated.
“There are a lot of puzzle pieces,” she said.
Some of the things she looks for are if the child is harnessed correctly, if the seat is installed correctly and whether the seat is a recalled model.
When someone comes for their appointment, they are asked to bring the car the seat will be in, the child, the manual for the car and the manual for the seat.
Hacker started working at Riley Physicians in Bloomington in the fall of 2012 and started the program in 2013.
“When I started here that was always my goal: to offer seat checks because we see this population that needs help,” she said.
She said she started working with car seat safety in 2004 after realizing what a big issue it was.
It is Indiana law that children less than 8 years old are properly restrained.
The IU Health Community Health also provides car seat safety checks on Fridays. Appointments at IU Health EMS on South Patterson Drive can be scheduled by calling 888-868-2113 or going online.
Samantha Kirby, IU Health Bloomington Marketing Associate, said there are always appointments available.
The free, 30-minute car seat safety check is in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.
The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute provides money to allow car seats to be replaced for free if it is faulty or not the right seat for the child.
Hacker said she replaces about 50 car seats a year.
Hacker does the checks at the Northern Monroe Fire Territory on North Old State Road 37.
Hacker said Riley Pediatrics plans to offer a no-appointment-necessary seat check day in June.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article called IU Health Community Health by the wrong name. The IDS regrets this error.
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