Greencastle Police Department car seat technician Darcy Hendershot led the three-hour effort, joining GPD Sgt. Chris Jones and Deputies Doug Nally and Stevie Smith of the Putnam County Sheriff's Department in conducting car seat inspections.
They were assisted by Area 30 Career Center volunteers Jim Shaw of South Putnam High School and Brad Royer of North Putnam High SchooI (students in GPD Capt. Charles Inman's law enforcement class), along with Jennifer Bedwell of Putnam County Hospital and local State Farm Insurance agents Brad Tucker and Therese Cunningham.
They discovered several outdated seats and some with no expiration dates that were swapped out for new safety seats that fully comply with all necessary safety standards.
As part of Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept.18-24, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute's (ICJI) Traffic Safety division is asking parents and caregivers to have their child's safety seat inspected during the week.
Of the more than 4,300 children killed or injured in Indiana motor vehicle collisions last year, most were either unrestrained or improperly restrained.
While most parents understand the importance of using car seats, few know how to properly select or install the safety devices. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a properly installed car seat can reduce a child's risk of injury in a motor vehicle collision by up to 70 percent.
"Simply having a car seat in your vehicle isn't enough," ICJI Traffic Safety Division Director Ryan Klitzsch said. "If the device is installed improperly, it may not protect children the way it was designed to.
"Anyone who transports a child in their vehicle should take this week to have their car seats inspected by a certified technician -- because when it comes to the safety of children, there's no room for mistakes."
Parents should also keep in mind that child safety seats aren't just for infants and toddlers.
Although their bodies are larger, older children are just as susceptible to injury and should be fitted for an appropriate safety device. In fact, the largest proportion of serious injuries among child passengers in Indiana last year occurred among 8 to 15 year olds.
The Greencastle inspection Saturday was one of more than 20 seat check clinics planned across Indiana. For a listing of the remaining events, go to www.preventinjury.org or call 1-800-KID-N-CAR.
To learn more about car seat recommendations, persons may visit www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS.