Three out of four child safety seats are improperly installed in vehicles according to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
To promote car seat safety, Winneshiek Medical Center and Culver’s are urging all parents and caregivers to take advantage of free car seat checks held the second Thursday of every other month beginning in January at the WMC east entrance from 4 – 6 p.m.: Jan. 12, March 9, May 11, July 13, Sept. 14, Nov. 9.
For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers should refer to the following guidelines for determining which restraint system is best suited to protect children based on age and size:
1. For the best possible protection keep infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat – this can be up to 30 or 35 pounds depending on the seat.
2. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats, they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat – this is usually 40 pounds, although some 5-point harness seats are now rated up to 60-65 pounds.
3. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats, they should ride in booster seats, in the back seat, until their knees bend over the edge of the vehicle seat and their feet touch the floor while sitting all the way back.
4. When children outgrow their booster seats, they can use the adult seat belts in the back seat, if they fit properly (lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest).

For questions on car seat safety or to schedule an appointment, call the WMC OB Coordinator at 563-387-5361.
For each seat inspected, Culver’s of Decorah will donate a coupon for a free small ice cream sundae.