Firefighters, Nurses Team up to Launch Monthly Car Seat Inspections

Firefighters, Nurses Team up to Launch Monthly Car Seat Inspections

SWEETWATER COUNTY — From incorrect installation to improperly routed seat belts, loose harnessing, incorrect shoulder strapping, or failing to use the top tether, setting up a car seat the right way is more difficult than some realize.

To help parents and caregivers navigate these challenges, Sweetwater County Fire District No. 1 is hosting a monthly car seat inspection station. Inspections are from noon to 3 p.m., on the third Friday of each month, at the fire district’s headquarters on College Drive in Rock Springs.

The first inspection station is scheduled for Friday, February 17. Inspections at each month’s event are only available by appointment.

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Those interested in making an appointment are asked to please to call the fire district at (307) 369-9390 or public health at (307) 922-5390. If there is no immediate answer, callers are asked to please leave a message with your contact information and at least two preferred time slots that you are available to attend the month’s event. 

While they have long offered car seat inspections on a walk-in basis, assistant fire chief Jake Ribordy said the difficulty with walk-ins has been, as first responders, there is not always a qualified person around the office to perform the inspection.

In response, Ribordy said they have joined forces with Sweetwater County Public Health to staff the new monthly inspection station with volunteers from each agency who are certified child passenger safety technicians. He said the technicians are not only specially trained on car seats but also knowledgeable on many things related to making vehicles safer for all passengers.

Ribordy said he hopes the dedicated techs, coupled with their availability by appointment at the same time each month, offers an added convenience to the public that will ensure a qualified person is there to answer the door and perform the inspection.

“This is a simple thing we can do to ensure our kids are as safe as possible while on the road,” Ribordy said. “We’re excited to be working with public health on this, and we want to thank everyone for helping make this new service a reality.”

Public health director Kim Lionberger and public health nurse Trista Cross agreed.

Cross, a newly certified safety seat technician, described the certification training as “eye-opening.”

“Did you know state law actually requires all children under the age of 9 are appropriately restrained?” Cross asked.

“Car seats save lives,” she said. “But it’s critical you’re using the right car seat that is properly installed and suitably fits your child’s size and age. I think a lot of parents and caregivers may be surprised to learn their child’s car seat is not installed properly and could be dangerous in a crash.”

Lionberger said her department sees the new partnership as an invaluable opportunity to provide a vital service and engage the community on an important topic that is often misunderstood.

“We’re proud to be a part of this project. We look forward to working together with our fellow first responders to help educate the community and pass this knowledge along to keep our kids safe while traveling.”