Why car seat inspections could save your kids’ lives

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 2:30 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. - National Child Passenger Safety Week, an effort from national and state officials to ensure safe travels for little ones, kicked off on Sunday.

Experts say special events throughout the week will bring awareness to safety risks on the road and talk about the importance of car seats in that equation.

“We normally have somewhere around 2,000 kids injured on our roadways every year. Those are a range of injuries,” said Kevin Poore of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Officials from the Juvenile Product Manufacturer’s Association add 445 children are injured in the United States every day. Three are killed.

“Car seats are definitely a solution to a problem,” JPMA Director of Child Passenger Safety Joe Colella says. “That problem is that motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury, hospitalization and death for American children.”


In observation of the week, DHEC is offering free child seat safety checks this week by appointment, including several in our region:

  • AIKEN COUNTY: Aiken Department of Public Safety, 834 Beaufort St. Northeast, Aiken; Belvedere Fire Station, 204 Hampton Ave., Belvedere; AikenSafe Kids Aiken County/Tri-Development Center, 1016 Vaucluse Road, Aiken; Salley Police Department, 161 Railroad Ave. North, Salley
  • BARNWELL COUNTY: LCHCS/Barnwell Pediatrics, 10706 Marlboro Ave. Barnwell
  • ORANGEBURG COUNTY: OBC Safe Kids/The Regional Medical Center, 3000 St. Matthews Road, Orangeburg; South Carolina Highway Patrol Troop 7 headquarters, 1391 Middleton St., Orangeburg
  • SALUDA COUNTY: DHEC office, 793 Columbia Highway, Saluda; Saluda County Sheriff’s Office, 100 Law Enforcement Drive, Saluda

Experts say it is the simple answer, but a bigger issue comes from incorrect use of the popular item.

“Not only in the state of South Carolina, but nationally, we do see a high rate of misuse for car seats,” Poore says. “That misuse rate in South Carolina is somewhere around 70 percent based on the data we see.”

The misuse is possibly related to not knowing how to operate the seat for the child or situation.

“Snug is a good word. It not only applies to the installation of the car seats but also the harnesses that hold the child in,” Colella says.

Or the extended use of a seat past its expiration date.

“Part of it is the use and wear and tear of materials, and part of that is not only usage but also climate,” Colella adds.