The Florida Department of Health in Marion County is reminding residents to take advantage of the free car seat checks and classes that the organization offers.
Car seats provide the additional support and security that Florida law requires and that babies and children need to be protected in the car. However, a car seat can sometimes be installed or used incorrectly, leaving a child at risk of injury if there’s a wreck. Or at times, a car seat isn’t used at all, leaving a child even more vulnerable. September 15 to 21 was National Child Passenger Safety Week and a reminder to make sure children travel safely in your car by using the correct car seat in your vehicle if you have young children and to have your car seat checked to make sure it’s installed correctly.
Car seat checks
The Department of Health in Marion County offers appointments to anyone who would like to have their car seat checked for proper installation. At the appointment, residents meet one-on-one with a certified child passenger safety technician. The technician works to ensure that the child is buckled correctly into the right car seat for the child’s size and age. Caregivers will leave knowing how to properly install their car seat in the correct position for their car. To schedule a car seat check appointment, call 352-644-2751. Appointments can be made for anytime Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the department’s main office in Ocala (1801 SE 32nd Ave.)
Car seat classes
The department also offers car seat classes on the third Wednesday of every month at 5 p.m. at the department’s Ocala location. This class is for families in need of a car seat, whether it’s because their current one is damaged or expired or because they cannot afford to purchase a new one. Participants must be receiving some type of aid, cash assistance, WIC, SNAP or Medicaid to attend and receive a car seat. Attendees must pre-register.
Class attendees learn about crash dynamics, driving safety and proper car seat selection and installation. After the class is complete, participants receive a car seat and install it in their vehicle, based on what they learned from the class. Class attendees work with a certified technician to ensure the car seat is installed properly. To attend an upcoming car seat class, call 352-644-2751.