The Kansas Highway Patrol is offering free car seat checks Saturday, April 6 at the St. John Fire Station in St. John, to show parents how best to keep their children safe.

Keeping children safe while riding in a car depends a lot on the use of a car seat. Getting the car seat installed properly can be a challenge but help is on the way and its free.
The Kansas Highway Patrol, in conjunction with the Stafford County Health Department, is hosting a free car seat check from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 6 at the St. John Fire Station at 636 East First in St. John.  
Kansas Highway Patrol Technical Trooper Jeff Schawe will lead the event that will show how to properly use car seat. On the average, three out of every four car seats is not installed properly.
It takes from 15 minutes to 30 minutes to run through the proper installation but for a parent or guardian, those are very important minutes.
“We show them how to keep their child as safe as possible at all times in the vehicle,” Schawe said.
There are a host of car seats and vehicles. The majority of car seats will work in the majority of vehicles but not all. If someone owns a 1968 Chevy, a 2019 car seat might not work in that vehicle.
Much of the installation depends on the seat belt and if it is automatic, manual, lap or shoulder. There’s a lot involved in getting the car seat correctly installed, Schawe said.
Schawe is trained in car seat installation and there will be other certified child passenger safety technicians from the Stafford County Health Department and the Great Bend Police Department on hand to make sure car seats are installed correctly.
With the variety of car seats on the market, it takes a lot of time for a person to become a certified car seat technician. A class is available and it takes 40 hours over the course of a week to complete.
“A lot of people are amazed how involved it is,” Schawe said.
The cost of a car seat can be an issue for some families. For low income families, free seats are available for those families in need. That is part of the total goal of the car seat check.
“Every kid will leave safer than when they came in. We’re not going to let a kid leave that is not safe in a vehicle,” Schawe said.
Having a child in a car seat is the law in Kansas. Everybody, including children, has to be properly restrained in any vehicle