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Would your Car Seat Pass Inspection?

Kallen Chea (5) enjoys morning rides to kindergarten knowing he’s safely buckled into his car seat.

Every parent knows a car seat is a “must have” for little ones, but why do safety experts say 46% of car seats are installed incorrectly?

National Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week is September 14-22. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13, and 42% of children killed in crashes in 2020 were unrestrained. It is imperative that families choose and use the right car seat – and use it correctly every time.

Colorado law requires all children younger than 8 years old and weighing 40 pounds or less to be restrained in a child safety seat. Car seat recommendations are dependent on several factors: weight and height limits, installation, shoulder strap and chest clip placement, and a snug fit. According to the NHTSA, a correctly used car seat can reduce injuries in an accident by an average of 76%, compared to the seat belt alone. A booster seat can reduce injuries by 45%.

If you are unsure whether your car seat is installed correctly, or if you are struggling to get a good fit, consider visiting one of the car seat checks provided weekly for free by South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR). Every Wednesday, SMFR offers inspections at three locations: Station 34 located at 8871 Maximus Drive in Lone Tree; Station 45 located at 16801 Northgate Drive in Parker; and Station 19 located at 8490 West Trailmark Parkway in Littleton. Safety seat appointments can be scheduled online and each appointment takes only 30 minutes per car seat. For more information about car seat inspections, call 303-805-0228 or visit

On average, children use three car seats before moving to a standard seat belt. If the condition of your car seat is questionable, it is best to recycle it. Colorado Department of Transportation offers a recycling program; for more information, visit

For Castle Pines residents, take used, damaged or expired car seats to Troop 1C located at 4600 Castleton Court in Castle Rock.

Parents and caregivers can learn more about Colorado child passenger safety laws and the latest recommendations on car seats, as well seat recalls at

Need to recycle a car seat? Twice a year, Target receives and recycles old, expired or damaged car seats and the donor will receive a coupon for 20% off a new car seat, stroller or select baby gear. Target’s partner, Waste Management, will recycle materials from the used car seat as part of Target’s sustainability program. To learn more, visit

By ViVi Somphon; photo courtesy of Laura Chea




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