Experts warn: Car seats may be recalled or ineffective

This year alone, 100,000 car seats have been recalled by the government

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Before a road trip, you may check your oil, your fluids and even get an oil change. But what about your car seat?

Experts say car and booster seat checks are important, too.

When kids are 4 years old and weigh 40 pounds, they’re ready for a booster seat.

Car seats can loosen over time, and many people have the wrong seats for their children. It is also important to check to make sure your car or booster seat hasn’t been recalled.

This year alone, 100,000 seats have been recalled by the government.

Some car seats also have expiration dates, meaning that the manufacturer no longer thinks they will stand up to a crash after that point.

“You never want to just put a seat in and think it’s safe indefinitely,” said Stephanie Weigel, injury prevention coordinator at Akron Children’s Hospital.

Weigel said it can be hard to keep track of what’s safe and what’s not.

“We really encourage parents to send in their recall forms. They are small forms attached to all baby and child products that allow you to provide your name, your address, your phone number and email address,” she said.

That means the company will contact you personally if there is a problem with your seat.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Philip Robinson said the number-one problem they see isn’t seats installed wrong, it’s kids not using their seat belts at all.

“A lot of times, if a child doesn’t want to remain in their car seat, it’s because they see mom and dad sitting without their seat belt on. Show the child that it’s OK to wear the seat belt,” Robinson said.

Finally, experts say to make sure you don’t move your child up to a different car seat just because they meet the minimum requirements.

“People generally transition to boosters way, way, way, way too soon for their little ones,” Weigel said.

To find recent recalls, visit the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration’s website.

Want to learn how to install your car seat for free? Safe Kids hosts thousands of child passenger safety events across the country with trained technicians showing you know to make sure your car seat is fitted and installed correctly. You can find a list of events in the area on Safe Kids’ website. 

Locally, there are a number of Certified Child Seat Inspectors:

  • Trumbull County Health Department
    176 Chestnut Ave. NE, Warren, OH 44483
    Hours: Call to schedule an appointment.
    Phone: 330-675-2590
    Contact: Lucinda Sentner and Rita Spahlinger
  • Trumbull County Educational Service Center
    6000 Youngstown Warren Rd., Niles, OH 44481
    Hours: Call to schedule an appointment.
    Phone: 330-505-2800
    Contact: Susan Shutrump
  • Austintown Police Department
    92 Ohltown Rd., Youngstown, OH 44515
    Hours: Call to schedule an appointment.
    Phone: 330-270-5115
    Contact: Dare Officer J. Toth
  • OCCHA
    3660 Shirley Rd., Youngstown, OH 44502
    Hours: Call to schedule an appointment.
    Phone: 330-781-1808
    Contact: Hector Ortiz
  • Akron Childrens Hospital, Mahoning Valley — Safe Kids
    100 DeBartolo Place, Suite 115, Boardman, OH 44514
    Hours: Call to schedule an appointment
    Phone: 330-729-9254
    Contact: Gia Ramsey
  • Sharon Fire Department
    155 W. Connelly Blvd., Sharon, PA 16146
    Hours: By appointment only; call or email at dharkabus@cityofsharon.net
    Phone: 724-983-3201
    Contact: FF DJ Harkabus
  • New Middletown Police Department
    10711 Main St., New Middletown, OH 44442
    Hours: Call to schedule an appointment.
    Phone: 330-542-2846
    Contact: Susan Viars
  • Pennsylvania State Police
    3539 Wilmington Rd., New Castle, PA 16105
    Hours: First Wednesday of the month, 12-3 p.m.
    Phone: 724-598-2211