Mythbusting: Any Fire or Police Department Can Help to Install Your Carseat

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Myth: You can go to any fire department or police department to have them help you with your carseat

I think this myth has been around since the dawn of carseats. Think about it: who do you call for help? The fire or police personnel: they’re the fearless heroes who swing into action and tackle the hard things in life when we really need them.

But as we busted earlier with pediatricians, we have to ask: are they trained in child passenger safety? They’re trained in life-saving techniques and fire-fighting tactics and weapons, but do they know not to use a seat belt and LATCH at the same time (or where to find the exceptions)?

In some areas, yes, fire personnel and/or police are trained to check carseats. However, I’d say that’s the exception rather than the rule. Being able to check that a carseat is properly installed and used correctly requires intensive 3-4 day (depending on the area) training and carries liability—a child’s life is on the line. Maintaining the certification is often something techs who “do it” for their jobs aren’t interested in pursuing.

In my personal experience as an instructor in Las Vegas, we have 0 techs on staff at any fire department in town. That wasn’t always the case, but it is right now and has been for many years. Some of our school police are techs, but other jurisdictions are not.

Is the myth BUSTED, PLAUSIBLE, OR CONFIRMED?

I think we pretty clearly see that it’s BUSTED but only because the word “any” is used. You can’t go to just “any” fire or police department and expect a trained child passenger safety technician to be on staff or even on duty when you arrive. Please call ahead to see if someone is available. This myth really is PLAUSIBLE.

Where do you find a current certified Child Passenger Safety Technician?

➤ Go to 𝗯𝗶𝘁.𝗹𝘆/𝗙𝗜𝗡𝗗𝗔𝗧𝗘𝗖𝗛. Being listed on the certification portal is voluntary, so not all techs are listed.

➤ Look for a Safe Kids near you: 𝘀𝗮𝗳𝗲𝗸𝗶𝗱𝘀.𝗼𝗿𝗴/𝗼𝘂𝗿-𝗻𝗲𝘁𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸. Many offer checkup events for free.

➤ Ask at women’s & children’s outreach centers

➤ Check with your state office of highway/traffic safety: https://www.ghsa.org/about/shsos

➤ Check with your carseat manufacturer to see if they do virtual appointments. Many now offer this, as do CPS techs (thanks, COVID 😃).

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