Saving Lives, One Car Seat at a Time

Memorial Children’s Hospital, in collaboration with the Memorial Leighton Trauma Center and the South Bend Fire Department, offers child safety seat inspections performed by Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians.

Memorial Hospital of South Bend offers the only hospital-based certified car seat inspection program in the region. Research has shown that 3 out of 4 child safety seats are installed or used incorrectly. Memorial and its staff are here to help educate all parents on how to improve the safety of travel for children. There is no cost for the inspection. Car seats are available and are distributed when the technician makes a recommendation. A financial donation will be requested based on financial need. Seats are not given away for free.

For more information about the program, please call Memorial Health Discovery Center at 574-647-1804 or email Teresa Sleeter at tsleeter@beaconhealthsystem.org.


Memorial’s Policy

Memorial Hospital promotes safe vehicle travel for children in accordance with the Indiana State Law. (IC 9-19-11 Chapter 11. Passenger Restraint Systems for Children) Staff educates the parent or care giver on their responsibilities to provide safe vehicle transportation prior to discharge for a child from birth to 16 years. Upon discharge from the hospital, Memorial requires all children under the age of 8 years of age, ride in a Child Restraint provided by the parent or caregiver, in accordance with the Indiana State Law.

Four Important Steps for Use of Your Child’s Safety Seat

Selection
Select the correct seat for your children. This means that the car seat:

  • Meets your child’s current height, weight, age, physical, developmental and behavioral needs
  • Is current or not expired
  • Has all of the parts, pieces & labels; whicht have not been worn or torn
  • Has not been in a car crash
  • If gently used, it is from someone you know and trust
  • Is not on the recall list
  • Fits your vehicle

Direction/Location
Choose the Correct Direction and Location:

  • Rear Facing (until the child’s second birthday or until the child outgrows the convertible seat rear facing weight)
  • Forward Facing (must be at least two years of age or have outgrown their convertible rear facing weight)
  • Never Place a rear facing seat in front of air bag
  • Children should ride in the back seat until they turn thirteen or are 4’9” (All children are safer in the back seat)

Installation
Install your child’s seat according to both the vehicle and child restraint instructions. This means:

  • Use LATCH (Lower Anchors and Top Tethers for Children) to lock the seat in tight
  • Secure the carseat to a tight fit with a locking seat belt or lower anchor system.
  • Correct Angle (rear facing 35 to 45 degrees and forward facing should not recline unless stated clearly in the directions)
  • Choose one method of installation. To install a seat rear facing, use safety belt or Lower Anchor attachments to secure the seat (if available, please refer to your vehicle manual). To install a seat forward facing, use safety belt and top tether anchor attachement or Lower Anchor attachment and top tether attchment to secure (if available, please refer to your vehicle manual).
  • Use top tether with both seatbelts and lower anchors (if top tether anchor is in that seat position). 
    It is important that when installing your child's seat forward facing with the lower anchor system that you use both the top tether and lower anchors. Or, when installing your child's seat forward facing with the vehicle seat belt, that you use both the top tether and seat belt (if your vehicle has a top tether anchor in that seating position). This provides optimal protection for your child. Please read both your car seat and vehicle owner's manual for specific instructions.

Correct Use
Correctly use the child restraint. This means:

  • Position and tighten the harness slots at the shoulder
  • Retainer (chest clip) should be at arm pit level
  • Sit the child's bottom all the way in the back of the seat (NO SLOUCHING)
  • Correct use of harness adjuster
  • Avoid use of thick coats/snowsuits under the harness
  • Use only the padding that came with your seat in the box. All other products not purchased with your seat may be unsafe to use in the event of a crash.

 

Please note that general guidelines presented here are not intended to replace manufacturer directions. Please refer to the manuals provided with your child's safety seat and vehicle for complete instructions. We strongly recommend that a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician inspect your child's safety seat after it is installed.