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National Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 17-22; Experts to share knowledge at more than 30 planned car seat check events

Contact: Melody Kindraka (517) 241-1522
Agency: State Police

Children are a vehicle's most precious cargo and yet more than 75 percent of all car seats are installed incorrectly, reducing their effectiveness in a crash.

This week, Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technicians across the state will check and install car seats to teach parents and caregivers the basics of passenger safety for kids.

"CPS technicians are trained to know about car seats and teach drivers the best practices for car seat use in different situations," said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP). "In as little as 30 minutes at a car seat check, drivers will receive hands-on advice and instruction on how to choose the proper car seat and use it correctly."

National CPS Week is an initiative to raise awareness about the importance of car seat use and encourage parents and caregivers to have their car seats installed and inspected by a CPS technician. Michigan has more than 950 CPS technicians and will add around 15 more following a CPS technician class hosted by Hurley Hospital and Safe Kids Flint at Kettering University during CPS Week.

To receive certification, CPS technician candidates must attend 32 hours of training, pass three hands-on skills assessments, achieve a combined score of at least 85 percent on three written exams, and demonstrate superb technical and communication skills during a car seat check.

CPS technicians must be familiar with numerous styles and brands of car seats, the different types of vehicle seat belt and LATCH systems, as well as the correct car seat for each child based on size, age and weight classification, all of which is taught during the training.

OHSP supports CPS technicians by facilitating training opportunities and providing car seats at no cost to CPS technicians for car seat check events. In 2012, OHSP provided more than 3,900 car seats to low-income families. In addition, OHSP funded six classes including the CPS technician training, continuing education and certification renewal opportunities.

CPS technician training and certification is coordinated by Safe Kids USA in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For a list of planned car seat checks, visit www.michigan.gov/ohsp or www.nhtsa.gov. To make best use of the car seat check, drivers are asked to come with the vehicle, the car seat and the child.

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