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Sunstar’s Child Safety Seat Program

Dave Selbach was sitting at a stoplight when a car ahead of him began to make a left turn. As the car turned, its back door opened, and Selbach could see a child safety seat nearly coming out of the car. A parent himself, Selbach says that the sight of that seat emerging from the car made him realize the need for more education about child passenger safety in our community.

“I wanted to do more to help people,” he says. So he took action. A National Registry EMT-CCT, Selbach completed a course to become a Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technician. Today, in addition to his EMT duties, Selbach instructs parents and other community members on the proper installation of child safety seats. He is also training to become an instructor of other CPS technicians. He explains, “My passion is to get education out there into the community in order to keep adults and children safe. I want to make sure that we can get more technicians out there so that we can do more for the community.”

He adds, “I love to help kids. I have kids of my own, so I do everything I can to keep them safe.”

With the vast array of car seats available, it can be difficult for a parent or caregiver to know which one to buy, let alone how to install it properly. Some hospitals will show new parents how to install the car seats, but often, parents and others install them improperly, which can lead to injury for the child. That’s where Selbach and Sunstar come in.

Sunstar offers classes to teach parents and other caregivers the proper way to install child safety seats in their cars. The classes are taught by qualified CPS technicians – like Dave Selbach – who complete intensive initial training to become technicians, and then must participate in continuing education, meet regular recertification requirements, and stay current on their knowledge of new car seats and recalled car seats.

Sunstar will also check your child passenger safety seat to ensure that it is properly installed. This service is provided free of charge once each month at two locations. If you would like your car seat checked but cannot attend one of the regularly scheduled inspections, you may contact Sunstar to make an appointment.

For more information about the classes and the car seat installation inspections, click here.

Good to know

Installing a car seat is not as easy as it sounds. Here are some common mistakes that Sunstar’s classes can help you
correct:

  • Loose seatbelt. If the seatbelt is not tightened properly, the child safety seat can shift dangerously
  • Too-tight seatbelt. If the seatbelt is too tight, energy from a hard stop or an accident has no way of dissipating in the belt, and can crack the shell of the car seat
  • Using the seatbelt system and the latch system at the same time. Like the too-tight seatbelt, this secures the seat too rigidly and does not allow for adequate “give” in the system to allow for excess energy to be distributed

Before you install a car seat, take the time to read the owner’s manual for car seat, and the manual for your car.

Need help affording a car seat?

If you are on government assistance, you can apply for a reduced rate car seat. To apply, visit www.allkids.org/carseats for more information and an application. To best protect the children in our community, applicants must complete a child passenger safety class in order to receive a reduced rate car seat.

Recalls

To find out whether your child safety seat has been recalled, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website at www.nhtsa.gov.

The law

  • Infants and children 3 years and under must be in a car seat
  • Children age four and older can use adult safety belts, but only if the child has grown large enough for the belt to fit properly.
  • Children who are too small for a safety belt to fit properly must be in a booster seat.
  • In Florida, this is the law. A motorist can receive a fine plus points if children in the car are not restrained properly.

Photo by: Greg Moran