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Authorities ready, willing to check child car seats
Car Seat Check pic.jpg
Eleanor Miller gives a thumbs up after her booster seat passes inspection on Tuesday. - photo by Dalton Perez

Have you ensured that your child’s car seat is secured properly? McMinnville Police Department, Fire Department, Warren County Sheriff’s Department and EMS do all they can to provide parents with the knowledge to safely install a child’s car seat or booster seat, check for out of date seats and inform parents of when to upgrade the seats. 

Mark Mara, a patrol officer from McMinnville P.D., provided his insights on what is done when car seats are inspected. “McMinnville Police Department, Warren County Sheriff’s Department, McMinnville Fire Department and Tenn. Highway Patrol for this district, all of us formed a coalition. The Learning House has asked us to do a car seat check, so we all pooled together.”

Mara stated the goal is for citizens to come in to get their car seats checked and to make sure that car seats are installed correctly. Marty White, captain of the fire department, also weighed in on other important aspects the team checks for. “We make sure the car seat is the right size for the child and the child is the right weight for the seat. We make sure they are fastened properly and that the belts are properly installed.”

Mara also noted that car seat checks are performed any time the team is asked to do one. “A lot of people don’t know everything there is to know about car seats, but we have technicians that know a lot about them. We know that there are recalls and expiration dates on them,” he stated. 

The police officer then mentioned that seven out of 10 people that show up to car seat checks will have their car seats installed improperly, a staggering statistic when considering the safety of your child. “They will either have their car seat installed wrong, or they will have their child in the wrong car seat. It could even be expired.” 

“We are really hoping we can change that around,” said Mara. “What people can do is come by the McMinnville Fire Department, the police department, the sheriff’s department or THP. The best thing they can do is call ahead of time for an appointment because not every technician is working every shift so we might have someone out. Rain or shine, cold or hot we will help. If we have people that want us to host a car seat check, all they have to do is call the police department and we can get that set up.”