by Photo via Unsplash

The Chula Vista Fire Department will host a free car seat safety inspection on Saturday to help ensure that children are properly secured before every trip.  

A nationally certified technician will inspect car seats from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. at the Otay Ranch Town Center free of charge to the public. Attendees will learn the proper installation of car seats to reduce injury or worse. 

According to recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 608 child passengers age 12 and younger died in motor vehicle crashes in 2019, and more than 91,000 were injured. Of the children 12 and younger who died in a crash, 38 percent were not buckled-up. 

Under current state law, children under two years of age shall ride in a rear-facing car seat unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds or is 40 or more inches tall. 

According to the California Highway Patrol, children who are 8 years of age, or have reached 4’9” in height may be secured by a booster seat in the back seat. At a minimum, children meeting this criterion must be secured by a safety belt. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that car seats could reduce the risk of injury in a crash by 71 to 82 percent compared with seatbelt use alone. Booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45 percent for children aged 4–8 compared to seat belt use alone.

Despite these rates, the CDC reports that 46 percent of car seats and booster seats are misused in a way that could reduce their effectiveness.

There are many nationally certified child passenger safety technicians throughout California. Check with your local CHP office or local health department to find a technician or "fitting station" near you. You can also visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) website to find a fitting station.

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