For the first time since October, a car seat check will be held in Minot.
The First District Health Unit will be sponsoring a free car seat checkup Tuesday from 3 to 6 p.m., at Minot's Finest Collision Center, at 524-31st Ave. SW in Minot.
Lori Brierley, director of communication and health promotions with First District Health Unit, said that during a check-up, certified technicians check to make sure that the car seat is being used correctly. There is no appointment required for a check-up, which should take about 15 to 20 minutes per car seat.
Submitted Photo - - The installation of a child’s car seat is important. According to Dawn Mayer, the child passenger safety program director with the North Dakota Department of Health’s division of injury prevention and control, one of the top misuses of car seats is incorrect installation in a vehicle. On Tuesday, a car seat checkup will be held in Minot, the first of its kind in the city since October.
Technicians use a checklist while performing the check-up, explained Dawn Mayer, child passenger safety program director with the North Dakota Department of Health's division of injury prevention and control.
Items on the checklist include:
the right car seat is used for a child;
the child is secured correctly in the car seat;
the car seat itself is correctly secured in the vehicle;
the car seat is not on a recall list.
"There's a high percentage of seats that aren't being used quite correctly," Brierley said. "They find one or more things done wrong with that seat."
In 2010, technicians found that, of approximately 1,400 car seats checked statewide, there was at least one error found in 87.8 percent of the cases, Mayer said, adding that the top misuses of car seats either include the child being secured incorrectly in the seat, or the car seat itself is not secured in the vehicle correctly.
As for now, the state is scheduling tomorrow's car seat check, and are bringing in technicians to conduct it.
"We kind of have an agreement that will help them get up and running again," Mayer said.
"They do hope to schedule more in the future; we don't have any firm dates yet," Brierley said. "We plan to go back to the monthly schedule at some point in the future. Right now, this is the only one we have a definite time for."
Brierley excused the absence of car seat check-ups in Minot since October to a lack of certified personnel. But that will soon change.
"We've newly hired an injury prevention coordinator, but she will have to go through the state training in order to do car seat checks," Brierley said. "It's going to be a few months before we have somebody up and running."
She added that First District Health Unit anticipates to train volunteers who are interested in working car seat checks.
"We're always on the lookout for people who have an interest in that area," Brierley said. Those who are interested can contact her at 852-1376.
The North Dakota Department of Health will also host three, four-day training courses where participants learn about crash dynamics, injury prevention strategies, car seat selection, and installation and vehicle occupant protection. According to a press release from the Department of Health, the course is taught through a combination of hands-on activities, lectures and discussions using a wide variety of car seats and vehicle belt systems.
"At the end of the training, individuals are certified as Child Passenger Safety Technicians," the release stated. "In North Dakota, CPST's volunteer at a variety of activities, including car seat check-ups, where they educate parents and caregivers and give hands-on assistance with the proper use of child safety seats and seat belts."
These courses are planned to be held in Bismarck, from April 17-20; in West Fargo, from May 8-11; and Grand Forks, from June 12-15. The cost for the course and a two-year certification is $75, plus a $25 local fee. Participants must be at least 18 years of age.
"Minot can really use child passenger safety technicians," Mayer said, noting that once somebody has gone through the training, they become certified to be a technician during a car seat check-up. "Minot definitely could use more."
To register for the course, contact the Child Passenger Safety Program at the North Dakota Department of Health at (800) 472-2286, or register online at (www.cert.safekids.org).