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Most car seats are improperly used
Officers, firemen certified to check child restraints
David Petes of Bristol Fire Department, left, joins Raymond Shew of the Rutherford County Sheriffs Department and Lisa Langford of Putnam County EMS as the instructional team that certified several local officers in child seat passenger safety inspections. A public child seat inspection will be held Tuesday at the Health Department from 10 a.m. to noon.

With 80 percent of Warren County parents not properly restraining their children, help in getting it right will be easier to find as several local officers and firemen have been certified to check child safety seat installation.
“We know 80 percent of children just in Warren County are not properly restrained,” said McMinnville Police Lt. Mark Mara of the reason the Tennessee Traffic Safety Office answered their request to hold certification training here this week at McMinnville Fire Department. “I realized when I took the course even I was doing it wrong.”
While most parents do put their children in child safety seats, there are several elements that go into properly restraining a child.
“First we make sure the seat is appropriate for their needs and then we check for proper placement,” Mara said. “We also check for recalls and make sure the seat is properly installed in the vehicle.”
Mara said if an issue is found they will make recommendations on how to fix the problem. A discovery made during an inspection results in only a recommendation. A problem found during a traffic stop will result in a ticket.
“Our child safety seat inspections are not enforcement, but instead are meant to help parents and caregivers,” Mara noted.
A public child safety seat inspection will be held from 10 a.m. to noon this Tuesday at the Health Department on Sparta Street.
Mara said representatives from McMinnville Police, Sheriff’s Department, Fire Department and Highway Patrol attended the 32-hour safety seat course. They will be helping out during Tuesday’s event.
“Once we started hosting events at daycares and schools, we quickly figured out we didn’t have enough certified officers for the need,” Mara said. “The certification class held this week will provide a lot more help in inspecting child safety seats.”
Mara said parents and caregivers who can’t make the public event can request child safety seat inspection by contacting local law enforcement or the city fire department to set up an appointment.