Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injuries and death among children in the United States. Many of these deaths and injuries occur because children are not restrained correctly when riding in motor vehicles. Experience at car seat checks in Maryland reveals that approximately 75 percent of children are riding in the wrong type of seat or in seats not correctly installed.

These deaths can be prevented. Placing children in age- and size-appropriate car and booster seats, along with correctly using the restraint, can reduce serious and fatal injuries by half.

The continued effort of the Harford County Child Passenger Safety Technician Team (CPST Team) strives to raise driver awareness and overcome child occupancy restraint tragedies. For 2014, the CPST Team, a cooperative effort amongst every law enforcement agency in Harford County, will host monthly car seat inspection events.

The CPST Team's safety awareness campaign will rotate between four standardized locations in an effort to reach all areas of Harford County. Police officers, who are Certified Child Passenger Safety Seat technicians, from the Maryland State Police, Harford County Sheriff's Office, Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace police departments, as well as the Harford Community College Department of Public Safety, will conduct free car seat inspections.

Technicians will check child seats for proper seat selection, installation and harness use; these experts will also show steps to correct adjustments and answer questions about this very important subject.

The next car seat inspection event will be held Wednesday, Feb. 5, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company at 3825 Federal Hill Road in Jarrettsville. There is no fee for the service, but reservations are requested. Parents and caregivers are asked to bring the vehicle and car seat owner's manuals with them. It is also helpful to have the child present as well to ensure the correct fit of the straps for the seat. To register for Wednesday's event, or to obtain a list of all dates and times, call the Harford County Child Passenger Safety Line at (410) 638-4510. A list of dates, times and locations may also be found at http://www.mdkiss.org; click on "car seat inspections."

Lt. Matthew W. Kail

Barrack Commander

MSP Barrack "D"