Protecting your child in their car seats

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Keeping your child safe while in their car seat is a top concern for families while on the road. Duluth Fire Department, St. Lukes, and WDIO are together in a partnership, offering Child Car Seat Safety Clinics. At these clinics, there will be a child passenger safety technician that will be inspecting and assisting parents and caregivers in installing their child safety seats. The positioning of a car seat is important. The way a child is seated can protect them from injuries if a car accident was to happen.

"What our general recommendation is from the Child Passenger safety world is we want to rear-face a child for as long as possible to protect that head, neck, and spinal cord, says Schafter. The difference between that rear-facing crash and that forward-facing crash is a lot different. We want to give children enough time to strengthen their muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones so that if they are forward-facing they’ll be able to handle that crash."Amanda Shafter is a instructor in education at St. Lukes hospital.

When an accident occurs; that may result in improper child seat positing, Deputy Fire Marshall Hendrickson shares it can be "a loose car seat or someone without a car seat altogether. That is what we try to prevent with these clinics."

For grandparents like the Aepelbacher, things looked different from when their children used to ride in car seats. "Now, that’s its rear-facing seat. When we had kids, they were the other way around, said Aepelbacher. It was no real rules and regulations, much on that at all. It’s much different now. People seem to care a lot more about it. There are volunteers here today, and they are talking to us about it, and it’s better."

More than 20,000 car seats are being recalled due to loose pieces of foam that can present a choking hazard to kids. A recent recall of car seats impacts certain CYBEX Sirona M Convertible Child Car Seats, which were manufactured between November 3, 2017, and August 31, 2018. Some of the included model numbers are 518000385, 518002153, 518000387, 518002145, 518002149, 518002151 and 519000211.

The recall, posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), impacts about 20,526 car seats. The documents said children can pick pieces of foam from the child seat headrest pad, posing a choking hazard.

To fix the issue, Columbus Trading-Partners USA, Inc will mail a kit with instructions on how to seal the headrest foam, free of charge. If you have an questions about the recall or car seats, call Columbus Trading-Partners at 877-242-5676.

These clinics are free services and the organizations are offering 11 of these clinics this year. If you would like to attend, you must sign-up for a designated time slot. To sign up for a time, visit