indy area car seat inspection sites and tips

As a parent, I am always looking for ways to keep my child safe. I made sure to baby-proof my house, bought age-appropriate toys to avoid choking hazards, and make sure that their sleep space is clear of danger. Unfortunately one area of safety is often unclear and it is one of the most important – car seat safety.With so many products and conflicting information parents often can’t determine what is safe and age-appropriate.  Below some general information to be sure your child is safe when traveling in the car! **Always be sure to check the specifications and manufacturer instructions on your car seat as height/weight/installation requirements vary.

TYPES OF SEATS:

There are generally four types of car seats: infant seat, convertible car seat, high back booster, and booster seat.  The following chart taken from www.safercar.gov outlines when children should be in certain car seats.

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Infant seat: The infant seat is meant to ONLY be used rear facing. These seats may be installed with a seatbelt, or include a base that the seat clicks into. Check the height and weight requirements of your seat, but often children can remain in the infant seat until a year old.

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Convertible car seat: This is normally a larger seat that positions the child in a more upright stance than the infant seat. Some parents find that their infants, as they get larger, are more comfortable in the convertible seat. Just because children are moved to a convertible car seat does not mean they should, or need to, be turned forward facing. Children should remain rear-facing as long as possible (Indiana State law states children must remain rear-facing until the age of one AND 20 lbs). This is until your child outgrows the height/weight specifications for a convertible seat (often around age 3). Just because your child’s legs are bent or touching the back of the seat it’s attached to does not mean he/she should be turned forward facing! Rear facing is the safest position for your child.

 

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High Back Booster: Once your child outgrows the convertible seat, he/she is ready to ride in a high back booster with a five-point harness. High back boosters must be forward facing, so be sure not to move into this seat prematurely. Again, children should remain in the high back booster until he or she reaches the upper limit of the height and weight restrictions of the seat – this may be upwards of 6 or 7 years of age.

Booster: Indiana State law requires all children to use a car seat until the age of 8, often as children get older, the booster is the most appropriate safety seat. A booster helps the seatbelt fit a child most effectively.

Indiana law suggests that children under the age of 13 ride in the back seat of a vehicle. If a vehicle doesn’t have a rear seat, airbags should be disabled and the front seat should be moved back as far as it can go.

 

CAR SEAT INSTALLATION:

You want to make sure, again, to read the installation instructions of your car seat, but child seats must be secured using either the seat belt or the LATCH system and not move back and forth or forward more than one inch.

**Be sure to consult the (long!) list below of Indianapolis area facilities that provide car seat installation checks! **Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 5.04.44 PM

Here are a few videos taken from www.safercar.gov with detailed, step by step instructions for installing car seats. For more videos visit their website.

Rear-facing infant seat with a seat belt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bxy_Tf5VKTc

Rear-facing convertible seat with a seat belt:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpzLalKHyoM

High-back booster seat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_IAKCWXGi8

Backless booster seat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dz5Fuff56tY

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TAKING A RIDE:

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Make certain  the plastic retainer clip/chest clip that connects the two shoulder straps is kept at the armpit level. Chest clips that are lower or near the child’s belly button will be less effective or even ineffective in the case of a car crash.

Double check that the shoulder straps are snug to the body. External devices such as strap covers and car seat covers should not be used in order to be ensure proper fit and snugness to the seat. In colder months DO NOT place children in their car seats with a bulky coat, as this prevents straps from being snug to your child’s body. If you are in doubt perform this easy car seat test. Place your child in their car seat with their winter coat, adjusting straps to fit. Then take your child out, remove the coat, and place child back into the seat. Do you notice how much looser the straps are? Shoulder straps should be tight, and touching your child’s body to prevent movement in the seat in the case of a crash. A bulky coat is not safe.

But my child will be cold! Ways to keep your children warm in the car, without compromising their safety:

  • Warm car before entering (if safely possible)
  • Keep “car blankets” in the car for them to cover up with after getting fastened
  • Have children wear their coats backwards over their arms and bodies after being fastened
  • Dress children in thin, but warm, fleece jackets or sweatshirts
  • Make or purchase a car seat poncho!

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CAR SEAT INSTALLATION INSPECTIONS LOCATIONS

Northside:

Carmel Police Department

3 Civic Square

Carmel, IN 46032

Schedule an appointment – 317-571-2500
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Zionsville Police Department

1075 Parkway Drive

Zionsville, IN 46077

Schedule an appointment – 317-873-5099

**Spanish speaking service available

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Noblesville Police Department

135 S. 9th Street

Noblesville, IN 46034

Schedule an appointment – 317-776-6340

Hamilton County Sheriff Department

18100 Cumberland Rd

Noblesville, IN 46060

Schedule an appointment – 317-773-1872

Boone County Sheriff Department

1905 S. Indianapolis Ave

Lebanon, IN 46052

Schedule an appointment – 765-482-1412

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Community Hospital – Madison County Safe Kids

1515 N. Madison Avenue

Anderson, IN 46011

Schedule an appointment – 765-298-5164

 

Midtown:

Marion County Health Department

5860 Laurel Hall Drive

Indianapolis, IN 46226

Schedule an appointment – 317-221-8970

 

Marion County Health Department – Room 303

3838 N. Rural Street

Indianapolis, IN 46205

Schedule an appointment – 317-221-3145

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IFD/Firefighters Survive Alive! Inc

748 Massachusetts Avenue

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Schedule an appointment – 317-327-7956

 

Automotive Safety Program – Riley Hospital for Children

575 West Drive

Room 004

Indianapolis, IN 46202

Schedule an appointment – 317-274-2977

 

Eastside:
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Hancock Regional Hospital

801 N. State Street

Greenfield, IN 46140

Schedule an appointment – 317-468-4383

 

Westside:

Clarian Health Partners

10633 Reel Creek Lane

Brownsburg, IN 46112

Schedule an appointment – 317-274-6625

 

Brownsburg Fire Territory

470 E. Northfield

Brownsburg, IN 46112

Schedule an appointment – 317-852-1190
St. Vincent Hospital

3510 North CR 950 East

Brownsburg, IN 46112

Schedule an appointment – 317-338-5299

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Washington Twp/Avon Fire

311 Production Drive

Avon, IN 46123

Schedule an appointment – 317-272-2155

 

 

Plainfield Fire Department

4010 Clarks Creek Road

Plainfield, In 46168

Schedule an appointment – 317-839-6939

 

Southside:

Franciscan St. Francis – Mooresville

1201 E. Hadley Road

Mooresville, IN 46158

Schedule an appointment – 317-83405817

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White River Twp Fire Department

850 S. Mulinix Road

Greenwood, IN 46143

Schedule an appointment – 317-888-8337

 

Southport Police Department

6901 Derbyshire Road

Indianapolis, IN 46227

Schedule an appointment – 317-787-7595

 

Franciscan St. Francis Health Car Seat Safety Program

8111 S. Emerson Avenue

Indianapolis, IN 46237

Schedule an appointment – 317-528-5774

**Interpretation for any language is available.

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Greenwood Volunteer Fire Department

155 E. Main Street

Greenwood, IN 46143

Schedule an appointment – 317-882-2599

 

 

Bargersville Community Fire Department

89 S. Baldwin Street

Bargersville, IN 46106

Schedule an appointment – 317-422-5187

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Franklin Police Department

2801 N. Morton Street

Franklin, IN 46131

Schedule an appointment – 317-736-3670

 

Major Hospital

150 W. Washington Street

Shelbyville, IN 46176

Schedule an appointment – 317-398-5297

 

**Most hospitals have a certified car seat safety technician on staff, but be sure to call in advance to find out for sure.