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Transportation officials stress child passenger safety

Baby Safety Snap lanyard (Photo: Intermountain Health Care)

WEST JORDAN, Utah — Most parents know a car seat is important, but it does no good if installed incorrectly.

Many might be surprised to find out that 60-percent of all car seats aren’t put together properly.

A number of traffic safety partners are looking to bring that number down with free car seat inspections.

That’s exactly what will be going on throughout the state during Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Week from September 15 to September 21.

On Friday, the Salt Lake County Health Department held a car seat class in anticipation of CPS Week.

The main message was that help is available.

“Installing your car seat can seem like a cumbersome task, but if you come to a car seat checkpoint we have certified technicians that help them know how to install the seat correctly,” says Occupant Protection Program Manager with the Utah Highway Safety office, Keri Gibson.

Additionally, it does no one any good to rush through the installation process.

“Just those small steps and that little time that it takes can mean saving a life,” she explains.

Statistics provided by the Utah Department of Public Safety show that for children under the age of 13 in the U.S., motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death.

One reason might be that parents are turning their children the wrong direction.

“We see a lot of parents wanting to turn their children forward facing too early,” says Gibson.

Instead, she explains that children should stay rear-facing as long as weight and size will allow.

The Salt Lake County Health Department’s car seat class is free and available on the first Friday of each month.

The class is available in both English and Spanish as participants receive classroom instruction and hands-on experience.

More information on CPS Week can be found here.