Nationwide Push

Klossner: Car seat education can save lives

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A startling statistic was made clear Monday by Women’s Resource Center Site Coordinator Amy Klossner: Upwards of 85% of children’s car seats are not properly installed.

Klossner and the staff at WRC stand alongside a nationwide push for parents to educate themselves on proper car seat installation. Efforts, which have long been in place, have been redoubled in the last year following the death of a Fort Wayne infant who died as a result of being strapped in too tightly, courts found.

The mother, charged with felony neglect, took the infant on a 15-minute ride and believed the child had fallen asleep, WANE-TV reported. However, when they arrived, she found the child with blood coming from his nose and mouth and was bluish in color. The child was rushed to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

This is an easily preventable, senseless tragedy, Klossner said, and she’s doing everything she can to get the word out.

“Just the idea that a parent didn’t know that they could reach out to someone and find out details and information on how to operate the car seat properly, is just kind of sad when there’s a lot of us out there, and we’re always trying to recruit more people to be trained,” Klossner said. “It’s just a sad, sad situation.”

One of the most common mistakes in car seat operation, as in Fort Wayne, is improper harnessing. The fit on the child should not be too loose or too tight, and the WRC has provides the training to ensure just that.

“In the winter months ... people like to bundle their kids up and they don’t like to take their coats off, so they go ahead and put them in because they want to keep them warm, which is understandable,” she said, “but it does interfere with that harness and the tightness.”

The WRC is certified as a Permanent Fit Station by the state, and partners with the Criminal Justice Institute in Indianapolis. The institute supplies car seats to the Crawfordsville branch, of which eligible families can take advantage free of charge.

“If I have someone come in and I have an inspection, and the car seat they have is expired or it doesn’t work for the child, I’m able to put them in a brand new, safe car seat that fits them for their age, height and weight. It doesn’t cost them anything,” Klossner said. “I’ve also helped a lot of grandparents who have gotten a new car seat for their new grandbaby, and they’re just wanting to make sure it’s in right. And that’s still free; all of the services are free.”

Educational material concerning car seats is also available at the WRC, in addition to pregnancy and life services for new or expecting mothers.

Klossner added that Montgomery County is fortunate in that support services work closely together, which not always the case.

“Our volunteers, a lot of them are long term. They love what they do and what we do here,” she said. “I have to say, I’m very proud of Montgomery County. They offer so much. I live over in Fountain County, and I wish we had the same kind of options that they have here. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people. They really want to help. They really want to make it better, which is amazing.”

To learn more about the WRC and is educational services on car seats, among others, visit www.womensresourcecenterindiana.org or call 765-362-3028. Additional information can be found at www.childrenacrossamerica.org, www.safekids.org or nhtsa.gov.

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