AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - After a child was ejected from a car Monday, the Department of State Health Services and TxDOT were out checking car seats for free to help keep children safe. Most common misuses were easy fixes.
Most parents are improperly placing their children in the car, without even knowing.
“100 percent of every single car seats that we checked today was installed incorrectly,” said LaViza Matthews, traffic safety specialist TxDOT. “What you want to do is trick the seat belt into thinking that you hit the breaks because when you hit the breaks it locks it right, so you pull the seat belt all the way out until you hear it lock and then as you feed it back in your tightening the seat, and pretty soon you can’t move it more than an inch.”
Most parents were unaware that car seats also have an expiration date.
“Usually, they last about six years or so, but if you look on the back there is going to be a model number a year that it was made and there will be an expiration date on it,” said Matthews.
Children 4-foot-9 or shorter or under the age of eight need to be in a booster seat.
“I had no idea that they had to be a certain height or weight to be able to be in the car without a car seat," said Karina Benitez
These car seat queens say, when you come to ask questions or get your car seats checked, it is a judgment-free zone. They want to help keep your kids safe.
“If it wasn’t for one of my friends reaching out, and going hey girl I love you, and I love your kiddos, here’s how we can keep them safer on the road. I would have never known that I was doing something incorrectly,” said Guadalupe James, owner of Fluffaholic and a mother.
Children with Medicaid or families who cannot afford to buy new car seats can pick up free ones at car seat safety check events.
You can call and ask for the “Car seat queens” at TxDOT at (806) 356-3338 or Texas Department of State Health Services (806) 477-1140.
Editor’s Note: The story has been edited to more accurately reflect the information above.