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4:13 PM Tue, Dec. 11th

Fire department offers child safety seat checks<BR>

In a move to better protect children involved in car accidents, the Hualapai Valley Fire Department is offering child passenger safety seat checks at its fire station located on 2485 Northern Avenue.

The department also has about 26 child car seats left from the 30 seats they received from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety in November, according to Raeann Catanese, HVFD fire prevention specialist.

Catanese said the department will provide parents a free child seat depending on a parent's income, usually if the person is on welfare or normally cannot afford to buy a seat, she said.

"If they don't have a seat, we don't let them leave unsafe," she said.

"If they have a seat, bring the baby, the car seat and the car in and we can go from there.

We'll determine if they need a new seat."

With Catanese, hired three weeks ago from Golden Valley Fire Department, HVFD now has three child passenger seat technicians who can inspect whether a car seat is properly installed in the car and the child in the seat is safely secure.

Secured child seats should not move more than an inch in a car, she said.

Child seats are recommended for children 5 to 40 pounds or up to 40 inches tall, she said.

For toddlers up to 20 pounds and at least 1 year old, they should be in rear-facing seats.

From 20 to 40 pounds and 1 to 4 year olds, children should be in forward-facing seats.

Children from 40 to 80 pounds and up to 4 feet 9 inches tall should be in a belt-positioning booster seat, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Some parents add unconventional head protection to toddler's seats thinking that will further protect their child, Catanese said.

"Those head devices can actually injury a babies head," she said.

During an accident where a car is going 30 mph, there is about 600 pounds of G-force exerted on a 20-pound baby.

Toys dangling on a car seat to entertain the child can also injure the child, Catanese said.

Not knowing the history of a car seat, the department will not take donated child seats from parents whose child has outgrown their seat.

Child seats that are recalled by the manufacturer are deemed unsafe and destroyed.

HVFD may also seek donations from local merchants like department store for additional car seats.

Being the first year that the fire department received car seats from the state, it is not known if the state will give out additional car seats to HVFD in the future, she said.

For a free child seat or to have a seat inspected, a parent can call the fire department for an appointment.

For more information call HVFD at 757-3151.