Last year the LATCH (Lower Anchorage and Tether for Children) requirement went into effect to make it easier for parents to install and use safety seats. As of September 1, 2002, all safety seat and vehicle manufactures must produce their products with LATCH system compatibility. That is not to say Safety Seats and Vehicles manufactured before that date are defective or un-safe, just that the system is now available for new seats and vehicles.
Historically, more than 95% of safety seats are installed and/or used incorrectly. Many of the errors seen could be considered “fatal errors”. That is to say that if the vehicle was involved in a crash the occupant of the safety seat would probably have been ejected, killed or seriously injured. If your child’s safety seat moves more than one inch when grabbed at the belt-path, or if the child’s harness straps are not snug at the shoulders with the harness clip at armpit level, your child is riding at risk. There are many other installation and use errors that could cause a failure of the system, if you are not sure if your child is safe, contact a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician as soon as possible.
In Pinellas County, call 727-892 KIDS or your local fire department. Not all fire departments are involved in the safety seat inspection program and not all firefighters are certified technicians. Call the department first to see if they have a safety seat inspection program and set up an appointment with a certified technician. Some Pinellas County law enforcement agencies are also involved with safety seat inspections, again call them first. The Pinellas County Health Department is also involved in safety seat inspections, call Barb Mabee at 727-824-6900 X-2209 for information and an appointment. Anyplace in Florida a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician can be found by calling 1-877-KIDSEAT or for anyplace in the country by checking the AAA or NHTSA websites (www.aaa.com and www.nhtsa.dot.gov).
East Lake Fire Rescue is not currently installing child safety seats.
Please call one of our other local Fire Departments to set up an appointment for installation
participating FDs coming soon!)