Published: 7/5/2022 5:36:26 PM
Modified: 7/5/2022 5:33:48 PM
NORTHAMPTON — City departments are redoubling their efforts to ensure that children are safe in their car seats as the health department plans a safety inspection event and Northampton Fire Rescue restores its installation program.
On Saturday, July 9, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the city Department of Health and Human Services will host a car seat inspection event at Smith Vocational & Agricultural School, 80 Locust St., staffed by certified child passenger safety technicians.
The free event is open to anyone who cares for a child of any age and anyone else who regularly transports children in their personal vehicle. It is not limited to Northampton residents. Organizers encourage attendees to bring the child or children who use the car seats to ensure a proper fit.
Those unable to attend can call the health department at (413) 587-1214 to make a private appointment for another time. Inspections on the day of the event are first-come, first-serve.
“Car crashes remain one of the leading causes of death for children ages 1 to 13 years old and 35% of children killed in car crashes were not properly restrained,” the health department said in a statement announcing the event, citing federal highway safety data. “A startling 46% of all car seats and boosters are not used correctly, and well-intentioned caregivers may be making mistakes during installation without realizing.”
The health department received a grant in May from the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to provide car seats to families in need at no cost, and infant car seats, convertible car seats, combination seats and booster seats will be available through the department.
Meanwhile, Northampton Fire Rescue has announced the return of its free car seat installation program, which was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Installations will be conducted at the department’s 26 Carlon Drive headquarters on the second Wednesday of each month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. unless otherwise specified.
“Please inspect your car seat for possible damage and expiration prior to arriving for your scheduled appointment,” the department said on its website, noting a six-year rule of thumb for discarding a used car seat. “Verify that the car seat you are having installed is appropriate for your child. … Please ensure the area the car seat will be installed is clean and free of excess debris.”
Appointments can be made online at https://bit.ly/3Ie6ia5.
The Northampton Police Department also offers free car seat installation by appointment.
Brian Steele can be reached at [email protected]