From the Editors
Wondering how to install your car seat correctly? Safe Kids Champaign County can help.
It’s estimated that four out of five car seats aren’t installed correctly. That’s why getting your car seat checked by a certified technician is so important.
Safe Kids Champaign County offers a free safety seat inspection on the first Thursday of every month at the Champaign Urbana Public Health District, 201 W. Kenyon Road.
The inspections are by appointment only between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Lisa Martinez, coordinator of Safe Kids Champaign County, said the current wait to get an inspection is about two months.
Martinez said they used to offer inspections once a week but, due to the limited number of available technicians, they had to scale back to once a month about a year ago.
She said she’s hoping to open up some more availability in the next few months.
Anyone interested in making an appointment should call (217) 353-4932 for a car seat appointment.
Here is some helpful information about your car seat inspection appointment:
An appointment must be made for each child attending the inspection station – NO EXTRA CHILDREN WITHOUT APPOINTMENT
Each appointment will last approximately 45 minutes (education plus installation assistance).
Please call the number, listed on your confirmation form, 24 hours in advance if you need to cancel your appointment.
If you are only having a seat inspected (checked) for safety, please bring with you:
- The Child Safety Seat (car seat).
- The instruction manual for the child safety seat (if available).
- The instruction manual for your vehicle (if available).
Cost: FREE (donations are accepted and appreciated).
Children do not have to be present, but it is helpful if they are there.
Distributions – If you are coming to inspection station to receive a seat (eligibility required) please:
- Bring the confirmation form you received when you made your appointment.
- Bring the child who will be receiving the new seat (mandatory unless pregnant).
- Bring the co-pay of $20 for each seat you are receiving (cash or check accepted).
Here is a checklist that offers some great safety tips to help parents ensure their car seat is installed correctly:
- Right Seat- This is an easy one. Check the label on your car seat to make sure it’s appropriate for your child’s age, weight and height. Like milk, your car seat has an expiration date. Just double check the label on your car seat to make sure it is still safe.
- Right Place- Kids are VIPs, just ask them. We know all VIPs ride in the back seat, so keep all children in the back seat until they are 13.
- Right Direction- You want to keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible, usually until around age 2. When he or she outgrows the seat, move your child to a forward-facing car seat. Make sure to attach the top tether after you tighten and lock the seat belt or lower anchors. Continue to use a booster seat until your child properly fits in the seat belt, usually when they are between the ages of 8 and 12.
- Inch Test- Once your car seat is installed, give it a good shake at the base. Can you move it more than an inch side to side or front to back? A properly installed seat will not move more than an inch.
- Pinch Test- Make sure the harness is tightly buckled and coming from the correct slots (check car seat manual). Now, with the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, you’re good to go.