The Naperville Police Department is helping protect the city’s youngest residents with a new Child Safety Seat Inspection and Education program. Naperville residents can sign up to bring their child safety seats to the department, where a Child Passenger Safety Technician will fill out a checklist ensuring the seat is safe and has not been recalled, and make sure it fits correctly for the child’s age, height, and weight.
Safety Seat Inspection, Installation, and Education
Parents and caregivers are encouraged to bring their children to ensure the seat is set up properly for them. And the department has an infant doll on hand for those who sign up while expecting.
The technician will demonstrate the correct installation of the seat, then remove it and have the parent or caregiver put it back in to make sure they can do it themselves.
“They’re going to walk away with the confidence that, one, their child is secure and the seat’s put in right, and that if they need to reinstall it on their own, they’re going to have the knowledge and the confidence to be able to do that properly,” Naperville Police Traffic Unit Sergeant Ricky Krakow said.
The technician will also tell parents and caregivers about the laws surrounding child passenger safety, and when to move their child into the next type of car seat.
Trained Safety Seat Technicians
To make this program possible, the department trained nine employees to become certified technicians with a three-day training course.
“It’s not just sitting in a classroom, it is putting hands on car seats and installing them in the vehicles. Different types of vehicles, different types of seats. Basically, everything that we would potentially come across to give them the experience and make them experts,” Krakow said.
Keeping Kids Safe
Long-time Napervillians may remember a similar program from years past, but “as resources dwindled, that program took a hit,” Krakow said. “It was really an initiative by the traffic unit and by [Chief Jason Arres], that he wanted to bring back this program.”
Krakow said this push is important for protecting Naperville’s most precious cargo.
“We at the Naperville Police Department care about that, and we will do our best to ensure that we don’t have any child injuries or child deaths in traffic crashes resulting from seats that are not properly installed,” he said. “So, we’re doing our part to offer this program in hopes that people and parents take advantage of that, so that we can try to achieve that goal.”
Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Naperville Police Department. Depending on the complexity of a seat or the number of seats in a family, people can expect the appointment to last around 30 to 45 minutes.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Flanagan reports.
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