Cars line up at the Market House Plaza to have their car seats checked. Alexis Daniels | Col­legian

Car Seats in South Central Michigan hosted a car seat check-up on Sept. 19, in which team members deter­mined whether attendees’ car seats met the safety require­ments and gave fam­ilies a new seat if theirs didn’t pass.

Hillsdale County res­i­dents lined up in their cars at the Market House on West Car­leton Road to get their car seats reviewed by CSSCM’s tech­ni­cians.

“They have to bring their children and their current car seat,” Child Pas­senger Safety Tech­nician Instructor Pamela Bognar said. “We look at them in that seat and see if it’s the appro­priate seat, if it’s a safe seat. If it’s not, then they get a free seat. Oth­erwise, we just help them to be sure they’re using it cor­rectly.”

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning receives an annual federal grant that they use to pur­chase car seats and ship them to tech­ni­cians upon request. Bognar said the event has gone on since 2009 and she does about 15 car seat check-ups in various counties. For Hillsdale County, she always holds these events at the Market House in the fall.

“It’s a very visible place,” she said. “People drive by, and they can see us. It’s easy to get to. That’s just one of the venues we use in Hillsdale County.”

According to Bognar, 75% of car seats are used incor­rectly. With these events, they are “trying to reduce injury to children and make sure they’re in the correct car seat and that it’s being used cor­rectly.” Bognar said they spend at least 20 minutes per child’s car seat in each car.

With the help of two other techs, Bognar said she checked 41 children, dis­tributed 24 new seats, and destroyed 11 unsafe seats. 

Samantha Nevins from Reading heard about the event from a paper sent home from school and wanted to make sure her child was in the appro­priate seat for his age and size.

“I’m not sure if he needs to go up to an actual booster seat or stay in the one he’s in,” she said.

Kim Moreland, a grand­mother from North Adams, said she brought her grand­children to the event because one of the car seats “didn’t look like it was in very good con­dition.”

“There’s no longer padding on the back side,” Moreland said. “That could be a little hurtful.”

Moreland said she drives her grand­children around often, and she wanted to be on the safe side.

“I thought, you know, they’re going to check them and make sure they’re safe and we’ll have hers checked, and if it’s good, it’s good,” Moreland said.