As one of our six certified child passenger safety technicians, Taryn Gallinger ensures babies are safely strapped in before leaving Wyoming Medical Center. But an inspection she did this summer likely helped protect babies far beyond our walls.
In May, an expecting mother walked into The Birth Place looking for help with her infant car seat – something just didn’t seem right. Gallinger, a certified nursing assistant, followed the woman to her car and, sure enough, the seat’s back end wouldn’t click into the base. No matter how many times Gallinger tried, she couldn’t get it to latch.
“That told me that something was definitely wrong,” Gallinger said. If there were an accident, the front latch would hold, but the back end would likely swing forward, slamming into the front seats.
Gallinger warned the woman not to transport her baby in that seat. She offered the woman another seat and suggested she take the defective one to Casper Fire Station No. 3. Perhaps they could help return it and ensure it would not be resold to someone else, Gallinger told her.
A couple of weeks later, Gallinger ran into the woman again at the Birth Place, this time with her new baby. The young mother thanked Gallinger for her help.
It wasn’t just her car seat that was defective, the mother said, but the entire design. All such car seats were removed from the store’s shelves, and the defect led to a national recall of that model.
Gallinger hopes the story will motivate others to get their car seats inspected.
“That inspection not only protected patients here,” Gallinger said, “but it protected everyone who would have went out and purchased that particular car seat.”
WATCH THIS: Taryn Gallinger presents an infant car seat safety checklist in the below video. Remember: When in doubt, call Wyoming Medical Center at 577-7904 for a professional car seat inspection.
Car seat safety guide, birth to age 13
Child Passenger Safety Week started Sunday and continues through Sept. 21. It’s a good time to remind readers that car seats are not just for newborns. Crashes are the most prevalent cause of death for children younger than 12.
Wyoming Medical Center ‘s Safe Kids of Central Wyoming program offers these guidelines for choosing a seat for your children:
* Birth – 12 Months
Your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
* 1 – 3 Years
Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
* 4 – 7 Years
Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
* 8 – 12 Years
Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember: your child should still ride in the back seat because it’s safer there.
* National Seat Check Saturday is 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 21 at White’s Mountain Motors. Come for a free child car seat safety inspection and to check that yours is installed correctly.
* WMC’s Safe Kids of Central Wyoming will install and inspect child safety seats free of charge. We will also provide infant car seats to parents who cannot afford one. To arrange a check, call Pam Evert, Safe Kids & Safe Communities program director at (307) 577-7904.