Free child car seat inspections offered April 30 |

Free child car seat inspections offered April 30

Truckee parents Jim and Kristi Schaffner have experienced a parent’s worst nightmare: the loss of a child.

On June 15, 1999, 11-month-old Luke Schaffner was killed in a car crash on Highway 89 North at Alder Creek Road. Although it will never really be known if a properly installed car seat would have changed the outcome, the Schaffners said it is known that there were some installation mistakes.

The tragedy devastated the family as well as the community. Many local parents began talking and found that most of their children’s car seats were not installed properly.

More then 53,000 children die nationwide in car crashes each year, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Many of these deaths can be avoided.

On Sunday, April 30, there will be a free car seat inspection at North Tahoe Regional Park in Tahoe Vista from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to ensure that car seats are installed properly.

As a result of Luke’s tragedy, the Schaffners decided to take action and get the word out to local parents with young children about the importance of the proper use of child safety seats.

On Oct. 10, 1999, Truckee welcomed its first Annual Children’s Safety Day with overwhelming attendance.

Organizers had expected about 200 parents and children to come out for the event, but when 474 people showed up, the concern and need of the community was overwhelmingly apparent.

Of the approximately 130 car seats inspected that day, only six were correctly installed, and REMSA Point of Impact officials confiscated 29 car seats that were either faulty, out-of-date or recalled.

For the Schaffners, a once-a-year event is not enough.

They decided that Truckee is not the only place in the Lake Tahoe region that needs information on car seat safety, so another event has been organized.

Rarely do we pack our children up in the car, drive off and expect that we will be involved in a wreck.

Yet, eight out of 10 car seats are installed incorrectly and a correctly installed car seat can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent, said Children’s Safety Day organizers.

Questions to ask yourself

– Does your child’s car seat move more then an inch either forward or sideways?

– Do you know if your child’s car seat is on a recall list from the manufacturer?

– Are your child’s shoulder straps threaded through the correct slots?

These are only a few of the many common installation problems that could put your child at serious risk in a car crash.

The public is invited to have their child’s car seat checked by the NHTSA – trained and certified car seat inspectors.

For information about this inspection call: The Luke Schaffner Memorial Foundation at (530) 582-5781.

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