A Nevada Assemblyman, John Carpenter, R-Elko, has said he will propose a bill in the 2009 legislative session requiring mandatory “training in the correct installation of child restraint seats” for parents.  Unfortunately, because of legislative rules, that’s all we get behind the intention of the bill and according to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Mr. Carpenter isn’t commenting on it.  So I guess the big question is: Should we mandate that parents receive training in installation of car seats?

Sure, we all know that according to Safe Kids USA, the national misuse rate is around 85%.  Your local percentages may be higher or lower, depending on your outreach programs.  Despite our efforts here, our misuse rate is close to 99% for those that attend checkup events.  We also know why those misuse rates are so high: a combination of cryptic manufacturer instructions and vehicle seat belt or LATCH complications.  You do have to admit there are some car seat manufacturer instructions that are very well written.

Would mandating a class help though?  The educator side of me says emphatically, “YES!  We must provide education.  That is how we combat ignorance and education is the key to helping people understand.”  The pragmatist in me shrinks back and says, “There are so many variables to think of when considering a class like this.”  Like what?  Well . . .

  • Who’s going to teach it?
  • Where is the funding going to come from to pay the instructor?
  • When do we require parents to take it?
  • Where will the classes be held?
  • When do we schedule classes?  Not everyone works 8a-5p.
  • How do we teach about seat belts?  Do we group by vehicle?  You with the Chryslers over there.  You with the Toyotas/Hondas/Hyundais over there.
  • How do we teach about LATCH?  What about the center of the back seat?  Oh, but wait–there’s more.  What about vehicles like the G6 that have 3 sets of LATCH anchors but they overlap?  You want to see someone’s head explode?  LOL!  Give ‘em a G6 after they’ve been at work all day and they’re 8 months pregnant.

I don’t know.  I guess I’m just surprised to see this pre-bill coming out of a state that doesn’t value education.  It ranks 45 out of 50 in per pupil spending, its governor continues to push for cuts in education, and yet a Republican Assemblyman from a rural town in northern Nevada thinks he has a go at getting this bill started.  I think I’d like to meet Mr. Carpenter.  He somehow seems larger than life.