HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Equally as bad as having no child restraint seat for your child is having the wrong one or one that is not properly installed or used correctly.
There are seemingly countless things a parent should know about the proper use of the seat. First and foremost when buying a car seat it's important to find out if it's the right fit for your vehicle. Next you should get help on the proper installation and use of the seat. There are many agencies a parent can go to to learn the proper installation and use including the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
"If they are in outlying areas or counties away from Hattiesburg they can go to their local law enforcement agency and I'm sure the officers would be more than happy to inspect the device and make sure it's in properly," said Trooper First Class Brent Barfield. Troop J MHP.
Even seasoned parents can learn something be getting a lesson in child restraint use. Julie and Kevin Kitchens recently met with Lieutenant Jon Traxler from the Hattiesburg Police Department and they say the things they learned were an eye opener.
"I didn't realize that we were doing it wrong in a couple of areas," said Julie Kitchens. "I also didn't realize that the fancy cover I had wasn't exactly safe. I'm a little surprised."
Traxler says a lot of people are not familiar with the use or installation of the car seat. Some of the problem areas he sees are the tightness of the seat belts and the straps. He added that nothing like toys or other things should be attached to the seat if it did not come with it when it was bought because the seat was not tested with them on it and could cause injury in a crash. That's why he says if a parent is not sure of what they can do they should find someone who knows and ask.
"They always say I have a stupid question, the only stupid question is the one you don't ask," said Traxler. "If you ask us a question we don't consider it stupid. We consider it you wanting to know more to learn more."
Traxler says it's important to discard and destroy the car seat after four-years or if it has been involved in an accident.
It's been proven the use of car seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71-percent.
A free car seat check will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the First Baptist Church on Holly Street in Ellisville.