ATLANTA - Those with a vested interest in child passenger safety will have a chance to take a national certification course and have access to a free car seat inspection in March.
The Kohl's Cares Injury Prevention Program at the Children's Hospital of Michigan is hosting a free child passenger safety training course on March 2-4 at the Michigan Department of Transportation maintenance facility in Atlanta, 13490 M-32/M-33.
The course is being offered for people who work or reside in Alcona, Crawford, Montmorency and Oscoda counties and the deadline to sign up is Feb. 14, said Bob Felt, MDOT spokesperson.
"(The purpose is) to educate parents, grandparents and others about the proper way to install a car seat in order to save lives, reduce injuries and improve the safety of our roadways," he said.
Felt said the training program provides certification in a national standardized child passenger safety course. The three-day course typically costs $325 but is being offered for free for the first 20 people who sign up. The Office of Highway Safety Planning is providng federal traffic safety funds to cover registration fees and car seats for the events, including some instructor fees.
According to Renee Zarr, injury prevention education coordinator at the Children's Hospital of Michigan, the certification allows individuals to check car seats and the positioning of the car seats in the vehicles and the children in the seats. The certification is through the National Highway Safety Association and Safe Kids, a national coalition that tries to prevent various types of injuries.
What: child passenger safety training course and free car seat inspection event
When: course: March 2-4, inspection event: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. March 5
Where: Michigan Department of Transportation maintenance facility in Atlanta, 13490 M-32/M-33
*Course registration deadline is Feb. 14
"The certification class is great for the people who have the passion and the want and desire to keep kids safe," she said.
Car crashes are the number one killer of young children, and nine out of 10 child safety seats are used incorrectly with many parents not being aware of it. A free car seat check that's available to the public will take place on March 5 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the MDOT facility in Atlanta. Child safety technicians will be on site to inspect car seats and provide various safety tips, Felt said.
"There is about a 97 percent misuse rate on car seats," Zarr said.
Zarr said the technicians will provide safety tips that cover the range of newborns in car seats to children who need booster seats. In addition, there will be technicians who can give tips for people with special needs children. A limited number of replacement seats will be given to attendees with car seats that are found to be unsafe or inadequate.
"We can inspect their car seat, make sure the integrity is good and it's not expired or recalled," she said.
If someone isn't able to attend the car seat inspection on March 5, they can log onto www.safekids.org and look up car seat checks in their area, Zarr said.
For more information or to register for the child passenger safety training course, contact Zarr via e-mail at email@example.com.
Patty Ramus can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687.