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HEALTHWATCH: Car seat safety inspection

ESCAMBIA COUNTY  --  Car accidents are the number one killer of children 1 to 12 years old in the United States.

A car seat or booster seat can help protect them but only if it's installed correctly.
So we want to make sure your children are safe.

WEAR is teaming up with the Pensacola Fire Department, The New Nash-FM 102.7, and Sacred Heart Hospital for a free car seat safety check.

Firefighters and Sacred Heart Hospital nurses have been there all day checking car seats and boosters for parents.

Check out this trailer -- you'll be seeing it all over our area.
(("It took about two years to get it, but it's here and we're thrilled."))

 Pensacola Firefighter Gary Creel applied for a grant through the Florida Department of Transportation.
It was approved and that 18,000 dollar grant paid for this mobile fitting station.
For years -- Creel has been an advocate for installing and fitting child seats properly -- he says more than 90 percent aren't installed the right way.

There was no specific wreck he worked -- or incident that sparked his attention to this particular cause.

(("Just driving around daily and seeing children not restrained in their seats.  We knew something needed to be done."))
Creel says the two main problems he sees at safety checks are -- expired seats.  Most expire after six years and children riding in seats too small for them.

(("At our last event, we exchanged probably thirty seats."))
Creel says they ask for a minimum donation of 25-dollars for a new seat.

Sacred Heart Hospital's Emergency Department Director Doctor Stephanie Duggan says  keeping elementary school age kids riding in booster seats -- that the height really protects.

(("I had a strangulation victim because the child was too low in the seat.  Didn't have the booster one, was buckled in, but the seat belt went just across his neck."))
Duggan says one strategy she used with her own three kids -- she became accountable to them.

(("You'll hear from the backseat, mommy are you buckled?  into them."))
Creel says last year -- Pensacola Firefighters distributed more than 300 new child seats.  They hope to top that with the new mobile unit.
((Our goal is to make sure every child leaves safer than they arrive."))
For more on this story or other health related news, head over to and click on the Health tab.