CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Texas Department of Transportation will provide free child safety seat inspections as part of its annual "Save Me with a Seat" campaign.
It will be a part of the National Child Passenger Safety Week, starting Sunday and running through Sept. 21.
TxDOT is issuing a call to action to parents and caregivers to ensure they are using and installing child car seats correctly.
The free inspections are offered to anyone to help save young lives.
Are you one of the many that is struggling to secure your child’s safety seat in the car? Are you even using the correct one? The Texas Department of Transportation is hoping to help answer these questions.
“It really is not a very easy thing to do, and we are certified technicians," TxDOT Traffic Safety Specialist Stephanie Christina said. "It is a four-day class to get that certification, and we know everything about the vehicle, the safety seats, and the size of your child to get a proper fit."
Most parents are improperly placing their children in the car without even knowing it.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, child car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers.
“What we find is when people make an appointment with us that 9 out of 10 seats are used incorrectly," Christina said. "And we want those parents to know, for a 30-minute appointment, you can come to the TxDOT office, Driscoll Children’s Hospital, and get your seat inspected and have a little bit more confidence that if you are in a car crash, your child is going to be protected."
In an effort to keep child passengers safe, TxDOT wants to encourage parents and caregivers to sign up for a free child car seat check-up.
Last year in Texas, 62 children younger than 8 years old died in traffic crashes; 16 were unrestrained at the time of the crash. Among children ages 8-12, 56 died in traffic crashes that same year; 21 were unrestrained at the time of the crash.
“When you hear the statistics that 9 out of 10 are used incorrectly that means it is likely you," Christina said. "So make the appointment. We are here, it is what we love to do. We are very passionate about it, and we will make sure that we are helping you install that seat correctly."
TxDOT's free safety seat inspections are available throughout the year, but you need to make an appointment to be seen.
Certified car seat technicians will be on site to teach parents and caregivers how to determine if their child is in the right seat for the child’s age and size.
TxDOT reminds drivers that Texas law requires all children under 8 unless they are taller than 4 feet, 9 inches to be in a car seat whenever they ride in a passenger vehicle.
Failure to properly restrain a child can result in a ticket of up to $250.
Children under age 13 should ride in the back seat, properly secured in a seat belt or safety seat.
To schedule a seat check-up with a TxDOT Traffic Safety Specialist, visit TexasClickItorTicket.com and enter your ZIP code to find the nearest TxDOT district office.
Drivers also can find out if a child should be in a rear-facing, forward-facing or booster seat, and get other child passenger safety tips by visiting the website.