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Safety advocates ask parents to change car seat use in 2 ways



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Safety advocates want parents to change the way they use infant car seats in two significant ways. To Stay Safe, they say parents need to update their use in and out of the car.

KSL News visited a group of car seat technicians-in-training during their final exam on how to properly install car seats. Since four out of five seats are improperly installed, trainee Nicholas Wittwer, who also works for an ambulance company, wants to help others.

"It's always a relief to go on a car accident and see the children have been restrained, and everyone's been restrained properly," Wittwer said.

Once the seat is installed, there are two new standards parents need to know. First, keep children rear-facing up to age 2, or as long as possible. Parents now turn toddlers around at age 1, but new safety stats make the case.

"We know that they're five times better protected; five times less likely to die or be injured in a car seat if they're rear-facing," said Janet Brooks, with the National Child Passenger Safety Board.

Second, keep the car seat for transporting, not for sleeping. Many parents don't want to wake up baby and leave him or her in the car seat to nap.

"When we get out of the car, let's take our child and place them on the floor or in our arms," Brooks said.

Too much time in the car seat can lead to cut-off breathing, entrapment or even a misshapen head.

These new best practices can ensure the No. 1 safety device--your car seat--protects your baby. And after four days of training, the technicians we visited have a few additional suggestions.

"Make sure you're doing a quick check that they're actually secured to that seat and that they're secured to the car," said Lori Barland, a technician-in-training from Riverton.

If you'd like to have someone who's trained inspect or install your car seat, call the safe car seat hotline at 801-622-CARS(2277).

E-mail: dwimmer@ksl.com

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Nadine Wimmer

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