Technicians check car seats, share common mistakes parents make

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WILLARD, Mo (KY3) - SafeKids Springfield and the Willard Fire Department checked car seats for free Saturday.

Jordan Endicott and her husband were just two of the parents who rolled into the Willard Fire Protection District's Station No. 1 to have professionals look at their car seats.

"Both of our kids are our world and we just want to make sure they're completely safe if there is the event of an accident," Endicott said.

Her son is 4 years old. Endicott is just weeks away from having her second little boy. She and her husband have already installed the baby's car seat, but she said manuals can be overwhelming and confusing.

"I'm still always nervous about whether or not those belts have been installed properly or whatever to make sure they're completely in there tight and safe," Endicott said.

Angela Gannon, a certified passenger safety technician with SafeKids Springfield, said manuals change all the time and can be hard to understand.

"With newer technology, there are greater ways to keep our children stay safe, but at the same time, each company has their own version so you have to re-learn it all over again," Gannon said.

According to SafeKids, only one out of every 10 car seats is actually installed the right way. Gannon wants to change that through the safety checks.

"We look at a few different things, because, ultimately, that's what child passenger safety is all about. It's about the 'what if.' That's why it's very important that every time a child is travelling in a car, it is done right every time," she said.

Gannon said car seats should strapped in tight, only able to move an inch or less. She said there's one thing parents can do at home to make their kids more safe.

"Check and see if you can move that seat. Grab it at the belt pad, now grab that and see movement," Gannon said. "How much movement are you getting? If you're getting a lot of movement, then that's one of the quickest ways you can automatically make the ride more safe is by tightening that up."

The other big mistake Gannon sees is once children are in front-facing car seats, parents or guardians are not using the tether cord to secure the seats.

Technicians weighed and measured children to make sure they were riding in the right size of car seat. They also checked youth passengers who were only used seat belts, to see if they're really ready to ride in the car without a booster seat.

Endicott says she feels better knowing both her little ones will now be secure in their seats.

"To have somebody there that knows exactly what they're doing and if we've done something wrong they can correct us, makes me feel better to know we've done all we can do keep them safe," Endicott said.

This was the first time SafeKids held a car seat check at the Willard fire station. The Willard Fire Department has two firefighters who are also certified passenger safety technicians. If you can't make it to one of SafeKids' events, you can also set up a time with WFD to get your seats checked.

For information on how to find a technician in your area or how to become one, click HERE .