Firehouse may become child seat inspection point

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 29, 2012



LAPLACE – In an effort to assist more residents of St. John the Baptist with proper installation of child safety seats in their vehicles, members of the LaPlace Volunteer Fire Department and State Police were on hand at the Hemlock Street firehouse Monday to guide drivers through the process.

With the help of the National Safety Council, firefighters and troopers spent Monday afternoon inspecting existing safety seats and installing new child seats for residents who passed through the fire station.

“The idea is to make sure that the right seat is being used for the right size child and that it is properly restrained in the rear of the vehicle,” said National Safety Council representative Renee Nieto. “There are many factors that go into proper child seats, and many drivers do not realize where they are in the wrong. Child seats are based on age and weight. There are also some occasions where the make and model of a car makes a difference in how the seat is installed.”

Nieto said the install check Monday only netted four vehicles, but he said the rainy weather might have played a factor in that Monday. He said the Safety Council is working with State Police and the Fire Department to make the Hemlock Street fire station a permanent location for a child seat checkpoint.

“Right now the only options in this area are for residents to drive to Kenner to State Police headquarters, or to Edgard, where the LSU AgCenter will assist in installation,” Nieto said. “We are hoping to give residents of the east bank another closer option.”

Damon Lewis, a firefighter on hand helping with the installations, said most of the issues Monday were as simple as ensuring the seat was restrained tight enough to the vehicle’s seat. He said in one case, a resident had purchased the wrong size seat and had to go back and get another size.

“It is a lot of little things, but they make a difference,” Lewis said. “We were given a 40-hour training course on proper installation of seats, and there were some things that many of us didn’t realize about child seats that we are now relaying to parents.”