After two children were killed in separate accidents this fall, Missoula Rural Fire is reminding parents about their monthly child safety seat fitting clinics at Station One at South Avenue and Reserve Street. 

On Saturday, October 8, Lieutenant Andy Brown described what happens during a car safety seat check.

"Folks from the community can come in, and we show them how to safely and properly install their car seats for their little ones,” Brown said. “This is something we do once a month on the second Saturday of the month, and folks can call in and make an appointment. It usually takes us about a half an hour per car seat, so if folks are installing numerous car seats you might want to plan on taking an hour for two car seats.”

Brown referenced the two fatal accidents in September that took the lives of a three year old and a two month old child.

“There have been a few incidents with children who were either not secured in the vehicle or not being appropriately secured,” he said. “That can lead to fatalities or injuries that are just not necessary. There’s a lot of violent action that can occur, especially with rollovers and front end impacts, where people can be ejected easily out of the vehicle.”

Brown said the statistics are overwhelming that car safety seats can save lives.

“For children that are buckled in securely, those rates can go from 74 to 82 percent for coming out without an injury, and potentially up to 28 percent in reduction of fatalities as well.”

Brown said the child safety seat fittings are free to the public, and there is help for those who cannot afford to purchase a regulation safety seat on their own.

“Folks that need additional assistance with purchasing a car seat for their little ones can call the Missoula County Health Department and they may qualify to get a free car seat. This is something that we take really seriously, especially here at the Missoula Rural Fire, because we want everybody to be safe out there on the roadways.”

Here is a link to more child safety seat demos from Safe Kids Missoula.