Car seat experts share advice with parents

Clinic May 25, 2011 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at Kyro Wellness Centre

Parents looking to ensure they have the right car seat for their children are invited to a clinic today in Trail, where newly certified child passenger safety technicians will provide hands-on direction.

Residents are invited to bring their car seat down to the Kiro Wellness Centre in East Trail from 3-4:30 p.m. for an inspection.

“Car seats can be really tough to install properly,” said Anne Johnson, who has volunteered her time and expertise on car seats for the past 15 years.

“There is new technology and new equipment that is overlapping with old knowledge, and people can still get really confused.

“Technicians help to kind of de-mystify some of the bits and pieces for parents.”

Johnson is among the 10 people from the Kootenay-Boundary area taking the technician program put on by BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation. After completing curriculum, the participants will take part in the car seat clinic.

“The community as a whole will benefit because the newly trained technicians will get hands-on experience in a supportive environment and the parents will get reassured in what they’re doing correctly.

“And they’ll also get tips on what comes next for them and we’ll help point out areas that are problematic, too,” said Johnson.

In B.C., children must face the rear of a vehicle until they weigh at least 20 pounds and are one year old, and then move into a forward-facing harness until they’re at least 40 pounds before settling into a booster seat until the age of nine or once they grow to be four-foot-nine.

“Just because a child has outgrown a particular seat, doesn’t mean there are not other seats on the market that would better fit their safety needs,” said Johnson.

The Trail resident, who volunteers under Kootenay Kidsafe, will be recertified as a technician for the last time today.

She plans on stepping down from her role as a local car seat expert and act as a mentor to the up-and-coming technicians.

“It has been a way of being involved in the community and passing on information that was near an dear to my heart,” she said.

“I was a tow-truck driver in Ontario in the early ‘80s and saw things that struck me as I became an adult and a parent myself.”

Over the years, she said child passenger safety has been brought to the forefront by research that has supported the importance of properly protecting children at particular development stages.

Governments have also become more proactive and manufactures have listened to the public and are making seats that are easier to use.

But with so many options available, parents are now faced with selecting the right fit.