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Child car seat education to be offered Oct. 4
From left, firefighter Kevin Sparkman, deputy Joseph Vanbommel, and policewoman Rachel Nichols explain proper child safety seat installation to expectant mother, Kayla Moffitt during a child seat inspection held at the Warren County Health Department. The next child seat inspection is Oct. 4 from 5-7 p.m. at The Learning House Preschool. The event is free.

McMinnville Police Department is urging parents to take part in National Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 18-24, to ensure their child is properly restrained.
“We are in the high 80 percent range of child seats not being correct in Warren County,” said McMinnville Police Lt. Mark Mara. “That’s scary. After a wreck is not the time to find out you could have done a better job at securing your child and preventing injury.”
Toward that endeavor, McMinnville Police Department, McMinnville Fire Department and Tennessee Highway Patrol are working to educate on how to properly secure children by offering free inspections for parents who want to make sure they are doing everything necessary to protect their little passengers.
The departments have been holding child safety seat inspections that are open to the public, as well as one-on-one inspections when individuals call the police department or fire department and request one.
Those inspections are given by individuals who are certified to check child safety seat installation.
“We offered an inspection at Smarty Pants and we had a good turnout,” said Mara. “Parents had questions and they allowed us to speck their vehicles. We talked about where the car seats should be and gave them some ideas on better ways of positioning their car seats in the vehicle. We also talked about airbags.”
Those events led to the alarming statistic in Warren County. However, the local problem is not an isolated one. Data collected at car seat checks across the state indicate 82 percent of Tennessee children are not properly restrained.
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of children ages 1 to 13. From 2009 to 2013, an estimated 611,000 children were injured, and 3,335 were killed while riding in cars, pickups, vans, and SUVs.
Mara says this is about protecting children and not about writing citations.
“I want people to understand this is not about enforcement,” he said. “I want people to understand that. If you pull up and your child isn’t property restrained, you are not going to get a ticket. This is about education. This is about protecting children. We are going to show you what to do and we are going to get you the help that you need and then, you can drive away feeling confident that it’s correct now.”
The next child safety seat inspection will be held at The Learning House Preschool on Oct. 4 from 5-7 p.m. It is open to the public. Private car seat inspections can be arranged by calling McMinnville Police Department at 473-3808 or McMinnville Fire Department at 473-6739.