Keeping kids safe with car seat checks

The Kirksville Fire Department is helping to teach others the importance of car seat safety.

School is in session at the Kirksville Fire Department, but these students arenâ??t learning how to fight fires. Theyâ??re saving lives in a different way.

â??We are actually training people to become child passenger safety technicians," said class instructor Kathy Zents. "We want to try to get as many technicians as we can so they can go out into their community to make sure they get their kidsâ?? car seats installed properly.â??

Students from Adair, Macon, Grundy and Knox counties are taking part in the three day course. The Northeast Coalition for Roadway Safety, in conjunction with the Kirksville Fire Department, is hosting a free event Friday, July 18th. It's all to make sure car seats are ready for the road. Theyâ??ll also be answering any questions that parents may have.

â??Weâ??re going to try and get as many families as we can between the hours of 11 and one oâ??clock here at the Kirksville Fire Station to have their car seats checked. What we really want to do is get as many families as possible to come through. It will help the class because the students will get to really work with the real families and do installs for them. Then the families will walk away safer with their child secured in a car seat," Zents explained.

Kevin Rhodes of the Northeast Coalition for Roadway Safety is a father of two and even he was surprised at how much of a challenge it can be to make a car seat secure.

â??I am learning quite a bit," he said. "Hopefully I can go out into the community and help people make sure their car seats are installed safely and their children are safe.â??

Missouri law requires all children under the age of eight to be in an appropriate child safety seat, unless they are at least 80 pounds or at least 4â??9â?? tall. Depending on the county, penalties for not having your child in a car seat can range from a $25 ticket to child endangerment charges and a fine of $1000.

Captain Joe Schilling of the Kirksville Fire Department hopes to have 20 or 30 cars at Fridayâ??s event, but wants to remind everyone they can get help with a car seat at the fire station anytime.