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Education about child-passenger seats important for safety


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The Child Passenger Safety Technicians held a child-seat fitting Monday at the Alachua County Farmers Market. Technicians assisted in the installation and certification of car seats.

Morya Willis, a child passenger seat educator with the Child Passenger Safety Technicians, said she often sees misuse with the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, or LATCH.

It is important to use either the LATCH or the seat belt, but not both, according to Willis. She said it is also important to read the owners manuals for both the vehicle and the car seat.

“We really stress that parents need to come to a certified checkpoint, not a next door neighbor or friend, but a certified technician,” Willis said. “There is a book that tells us what the LATCH anchors go to weight wise.”

The LATCH can usually hold up to 40 or 48 pounds. If a child and seat have a combined weight that is more than this, the seat belt must be used. A seat belt can withstand up to 6,000 pounds, according to Willis.

Resources on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website stress the importance of child-seat safety. Car crashes are the No.1 killer of children ages 1 to 12 in the U.S., according to the website.

Child Passenger Safety Week took place from Sept. 16 to Sept. 22. This week is a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Transportation and Safe Kids.

Heather Wilson, an Alachua County parent, came to the event to get her child seat certified. Wilson thought that her son was outgrowing his current seat.

“I need to figure out what the best, safest way for us to configure the back seat is,” Wilson said.

Cassandra Vangellow edited this story online.

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