Complicated Car Seats Confuse Many Parents, Technicians Here to Help

By: Janelle Lilley Email
By: Janelle Lilley Email

With all the restraints, warnings, manufacturer directions and even directions based on your vehicle, simply installing a car seat isn't so simple.

Officer Shane Ayers, of the Staunton Police Department, took a class to learn how to install one properly, and he says he wasn't doing it correctly before the class, even though he's a parent of three.

"For the parent, even myself before I took the class, you know there were things I didn't understand or didn't understand how to operate the system, and now we can install the seat relatively easily," says Ayers.

It's no surprise technicians like Ayers say four out of five seats are installed incorrectly.

In rear-facing seats, even the 35-degree angle the seat sits at matters to a child's safety.

"It's the strength in the muscles in the neck, to prevent the head excursions, and by keeping them rear-facing if something happens, they go forward against the seat, and that holds them in place, and that's why we're so particular about getting that angle," explains Ayers.

He says parents shouldn't be embarrassed about asking for help. Keeping your kids safe is a priority.

It's a priority that parent of three Sarah Wilcher demonstrated was important when she had an officer come out to her house to check a seat.

"I had never had to install one of the big ones rear-facing," recalls Wilcher.

Now, with her kids a little older, her biggest challenge isn't installation. It's keeping them in the back of the car where it's safe for kids under 12.

Luckily, Wilcher is a stickler for the rules.

"[They say] everybody else let's their kids do it. I'm like, 'I don't care, you're my kid,'" says Wilcher with a smile.


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