Checking car seats

Keep Minot kids safe on the go

Ciara Parizek/MDN Ethan Rostvedt does a checklist on a car seat at Minot Fire Station 1 on Tuesday.

Minot Fire Station 1 hosted its first free car seat check on Tuesday afternoon. In the summer, car seat checks have been done in a Trinity parking garage, but with these frigid temperatures, the heated garage of the fire station was a much better option.

Stuart Hammer with the Minot Fire Department was present to advise two parents on how to install the base to their soon-to-be-born son’s car seat. Their vehicle was a two door, so installation was a bit difficult, but they were able to get it strapped in tight and ready for their baby.

Katie Huettl, a car seat technician with First District Health Unit’s injury prevention, was there to advise the parents on things to have and to avoid when it comes to car seat accessories. Mirrors, hanging toys and other add-ons could pose dangers to the baby in the case of an accident. She also recommended using rolled up receiving blankets around the infant to fill in any extra room in the car seat if they are small. Using head cushions that did not come with the car seat could be a risk of injury, as well.

Huettl checked the straps to make sure they were even in length and in good shape. “The clip should be at armpit level,” she said. Snowsuits or swaddlers that are tucked under babies in the car seat were not recommended, as they make a lot of extra room for them to move around in the event of an accident. To keep babies warm in the cold, “the best option is a cover with the little window that goes over the whole thing. They stay toasty in there.”

Hammer said that their number one concern was making sure that children are safe and that the car seats are installed properly. They check the seat, the anchors, the seatbelts and any recalls. Car seat techs also look through the manual if the parents brought it with them to be certain that the car seat is being used correctly.

Ciara Parizek/MDN A father watches a car seat technician adjust the straps on the car seat for his soon-to-be-born son on Tuesday.

North Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Ethan Rostvedt did a checklist on a car seat to find its make and model, and also checked for any possible recalls.

The parents that attend the car seat checks are required to install it themselves while the car seat techs walk them through the process. In doing so, they learn hands-on how to install it and are more likely to remember how it’s done in the case they need to remove it from their vehicle and reinstall it.

Rhonda Gunderson from the Trinity trauma center and Laurie Ramsey, a registered nurse from Trinity, were there to answer questions, if the parents had any.

The Minot Fire Department, North Dakota Highway Patrol, Safe Kids Minot, Trinity, First District Health Unit and car seat technicians are all associated with the car seat checks to ensure the safety of children in the Minot community and give parents peace of mind that their children are protected on the go. Hammer invites parents to call any of those organizations with questions or concerns they may have with their child’s car seat.

Minot Fire Station 1 will be holding the free car seat checks on the second Tuesday and fourth Saturday of every month.