Take the "Inch Test" on the Road

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By News Team on July 31, 2019

Do you know if the car seat your child rides in is installed properly? Safety recommendations change all the time, and the installation process can change from one seat to another.

Before you head out on the road for your family vacation—or even to the grocery store—be sure all the strapping and buckling you're doing is doing its job.

Look before you lock! Put your phone in the back seat with your baby to prevent a tragic mistake.

"Approximately 70 to 80 percent of parents and caregivers who install car seats themselves don’t do it correctly," said Jill Lucas Drakeford, a Carilion Clinic community health educator and certified child passenger safety technician. "That increases the chance of a child to be injured or killed in a car crash."

If you're installing it yourself, use the Safe Kids "inch test." A properly installed seat will not move more than an inch front to back or side to side when pulled at the seat belt path. 

But the best way to keep your little ones safe on the road is to have their seats checked by a certified child passenger safety technician.

Jill works with regional first responders and other trained professionals to help make sure every car seat and booster seat is installed correctly—at no charge!

To find a certified child passenger safety technician in your area, check with your local fire station or ask your pediatrician. 

In Roanoke and Christiansburg, Carilion Clinic sponsors free car seat safety checks each month:

  • The third Thursday of each month from 4-6 p.m. at Roanoke Fire-EMS station 6
  • The last Thursday of each month from 4-6 p.m. at the Christiansburg Fire Department

Additional events are held regularly throughout our region. Check CarilionClinic.org/calendar for one near you to make sure your littlest passengers are safe and sound.