Video: KFD, KPD hold car seat checkpoint for Child Passenger Safety Week

Holly Viers • Sep 20, 2017 at 7:00 PM

KINGSPORT — To mark Child Passenger Safety Week, the Kingsport fire and police departments came together on Wednesday to hold a child passenger seat checkpoint for the community.

At the checkpoint, representatives from both departments were on hand to check seats and instruct parents and caregivers on their proper use.

Barry Brickey, public education and information officer for the KFD, answered the following questions about the car seat checkpoint and car seat safety.

Have you offered a car seat checkpoint before?

“Yes. This is something we’ve done for a long time now, and sometimes we’ll have maybe 16 to 20 families that come in to get their car seats checked, sometimes maybe about 10.”

Why do you think it’s important for people to familiarize themselves with car seat safety?

“There’s a high misuse rate, which can turn into injuries. Even in a minor accident, a child could be hurt if the belts are in the wrong position, or sometimes they’re not even in a seat.”

What is one of the most common mistakes you see when checking car seats?

“One of the problems we see a lot of times is families letting their child come out of a booster seat too early. They’re supposed to be 4 feet 9 inches, or 9 years old. A lot of times (people say), ‘Well, they’re 5; they’re big enough.’ ”

How do car seat laws in Tennessee compare to other states?

“Tennessee and Wyoming, I believe, have the most strict child passenger laws in the nation, which is great. It’s safer for our kids because car seat belts aren’t really made for children.”

What can people do if they need a car seat check but couldn’t come to the checkpoint?

“Anytime anybody needs a car seat check, they can contact the fire department or they can contact the police department, and we’ll find one of the technicians that’s working and get them over to them.”

To learn more about the types of car seats or to find out which seat is right for your child, visit www.nhtsa.gov and search for “Car Seat Finder.”