In an effort to reduce the danger at a local level, the Greencastle Police Department embarked on a project a couple of years ago aimed at helping parents of small children understand how to properly install the seats.
They also have a program where they provide free seats to parents who qualify for low-income assistance.
Parking enforcement officer Darcy Hendershot coordinates the program for the department and offered a statistic that some people may find startling.
"Probably 99 percent of child car seats aren't installed right," Hendershot told the BannerGraphic, emphasizing the importance of annual inspections provided by the police department.
Nationally, the NHTSA reports that of the several thousand safety inspections it performed in 2002 and 2003, 72 percent of child seats were not properly installed.
Once a year, GPD invites parents, and grandparents, to stop by the police station to have their child seats inspected for safety and to ensure they are properly installed.
Another important fact that many people may not know is that their child's seat needs to be replaced if they've been in a car accident.
GPD keeps five different types of seats in stock for parents who qualify.
Hendershot said parents must have their children enrolled either in WIC or Hoosier Healthwise to qualify for a free car seat. Parents who qualify are entitled to one free seat for each child.
GPD will weigh and measure the children to ensure they are placed in the proper seat for their size. Parents need to bring their child's old seat to the police station and fill out paperwork in order to receive a free seat.
The "Permanent Fitting Station" program is available to qualified residents of Putnam County. The program recently received a $500 boost from local insurance agent Matthew Welker with Allstate Insurance.
Chief Sutherlin said the money will go a long way to providing seats to many children in Putnam County.
For more information about the child seat program, call GPD at 653-2925.