May 17, 2001 11:00 pm
THINK SAFETY: Lois Rieke demonstrates how to install a car safety seat. (The Observer/T.L. PETERSEN).
THINK SAFETY: Lois Rieke demonstrates how to install a car safety seat. (The Observer/T.L. PETERSEN).

By The Observer

Getting parents to use a car seat to keep infants and young children safe isnt that hard. Getting them to use the seat correctly is more difficult.

Car seat installation and use will be the topic of a free drop-in clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Lynch Motors, 1602 Adams Ave.

According to national statistics, four out of five car seats are either not properly installed or are incorrectly used, said Lois Rieke, certified child safety seat technician with the La Grande Fire Department.

The free clinic will provide an opportunity for parents to have their childrens car seats checked and to have the seats evaluated for appropriateness for the youngsters size and weight.

Ninety-five percent of kids are at risk, Rieke said, adding that its amazing how many people havent got their car seats installed tightly enough.

They almost have to be nailed to the seat, she said, tugging on a model to demonstrate.

The clinic is being sponsored by the Union County Safe Kids Chapter, the Alliance for Community Traffic Safety in Oregon, the Child Safety Seat Resource Center, Lynch Motors, the fire department and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The clinic will provide a chance for some families to replace outgrown or broken car seats with new seats provided at the clinic through the Safe Kids Chapter.

Infants should be in rear-facing car seats until at least a year old or until they weigh more than 20 pounds.

Children between 40 and about 80 pounds should be in booster seats for correct lap- and shoulder-belt fit.

Child safety seats should always be placed in rear seats.

Car seats should not move more than an inch forward or from side-to-side once installed.

Replace any child safety seat thats been involved in an accident.