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Car Seat Inspections

Emily Hashberger talks to Oregon State Police Trooper Fred Dunlap as he inspects her daughter Evelyn's car seat Saturday at the Coos Bay Fire Department.

COOS BAY — The Coos County Car Seat Coalition hosted a free car seat inspection on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Coos Bay Fire Department in downtown Coos Bay.

Luke Taylor, a Coos Bay firefighter and coalition coordinator, said the group usually meets once a month to host inspections in order to ensure that parents are travelling safely with their children.

“Before I became a (child passenger safety) technician, I thought I knew everything there was to know about installing car seats being that I’m a parent myself,” said Taylor. “After I went through the program, I learned a lot and what we see often is seats are generally too loose and straps aren’t in proper position.”

At the inspections, the group’s local technicians, who include volunteer police officers, ODOT employees, firefighters and hospital staff, thoroughly check incoming vehicles and the child seats they have already installed.

According to Taylor, the technicians will go over safety regulations, rear-facing and forward-facing seat requirements as well as booster seats and when it’s time to transition children into various seat levels.

In addition to inspecting the seats, the technicians also look at a vehicle’s latch system, which provides extra tether points in order to firmly secure seats.

“The biggest thing for us is educating parents as they come through,” said Taylor. “We prefer the child to also be present so that way we can see how they actually fit in their seat.”

Along with its free inspections, the coalition provides discounted car seats for families who are struggling financially. In order to qualify, proof of low income status is needed in order to purchase a car seat, which the coalition purchases using state grants.

The next child seat inspection will take place March 12 at the Coos Bay Fire Station at 450 Elrod Ave. from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It will also be hosting an additional Saturday inspection April 13 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., but the location has not yet been determined.

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Reporter Amanda Linares can be reached at 541-266-2039 or by email at amanda.linares@theworldlink.com.

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