Keeping kids safe

In order to ensure proper use of child car seats, the Marshalltown Police Department, Marshall County Sheriff’s Office and the Central Iowa Safe Kids Coalition will host a child car seat safety event from 2-6 p.m. Sept. 21, in the parking lot of Hy-Vee.

Sgt. Rick Bellile, of the Marshalltown Police Department, said the event is meant to help people with proper installation of car seats.

“We like to make sure people have the right installation and the right car seats and are using them correctly,” Bellile said.

Certified car seat safety technicians will provide free installation and evaluation of car seats to ensure the proper use.

If needed, new seats will be available at the event. The new seats were funded by Al Hoop, Marshalltown City Council member, in memory of his wife Donna. Hoop said she was a child safety advocate.

“She passed away from cancer in January,” Hoop said. “She was adamant about car seats.”

According to the staff of the Marshalltown police dispatch, the most common issue in Marshalltown with child car safety is people not buckling their child correctly. Officers will not ticket people who do not buckle their child in correctly, but instead will help make sure the child gets fastened the right way. However, if the child is not buckled at all, the violator will receive a ticket.

According to the Iowa Child Restraint law, the most common child safety seat misuses are the seat being installed too loose, an improper seating position, not buckling the child into restraint, not securely anchoring the child restraint to the vehicle, an improper seat for the child’s age and size, an infant riding forward facing, the harness retainer clip not at armpit level and loose harness straps.

Bellile said for those unable to attend the event, an inspection can be scheduled by contacting the Marshalltown Police Department at 754-5725. The Marshalltown Police Department holds child car safety events several times a year.

A Guide to the Iowa Child Restraint Law

A child under one year old and weighing less than 20 pounds must be secured in a rear-facing child restraint system.

A child age 1 up to 6 years old must be secured in a child restraint system (a safety seat or booster seat- not a seat belt).

A child from age 6 up to age 11 must be secured in a child restraint system or by a safety belt.

Rear seat occupants up to age 18 must be secured by a safety belt.

Do not place infants in the front passenger seat of cars with air bags.

All children under 13 should ride in the back seat of the car.

To graduate to an adult belt a child must be able to sit with their back/buttocks against the seat and with their knees bent at the edge of the seat. The belt system must be snug across the center of the child’s chest and across their lap at the hips.

Source: Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau