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Is Your Child's Car Safety Seat Installed Correctly?

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CARY — Thousands of North Carolina children are riding in cars *without* proper safety restraints. Parents who do put their kids in safety seats don't always do it correctly. That's the purpose behind National Child Passenger Safety week.

Cary Police officers, as well as North Carolina Highway Patrol troopers were checking car safety seats Tuesday afternoon on Cary's Lake Pine Road. Of all the car seats they checked, they found no perfectly-installed seats. They say that 70 to 90 percent of the seats may be installed incorrectly -- and there may be a lot of road-riding children who could be in danger.

North Carolina law requires that all children under four years old must be buckled in a child safety seat. However, in many cases, an improperly-installed seat is completely useless. That's why the State Highway Patrol is teaming up with police departments across North Carolina this week to provide free clinics, showing parents how to properly use the seats. Cary Police Lieutenant Doug Scott says that proper installation is key to successfully protecting kids.

Highway Patrol Sergeant Jeff Winstead says that they found some big no-nos at Tuesday's checkpoint.

Police at the Cary checkpoint also found kids who weren't in any car seat at all -- they were riding in their parents' laps. Very dangerous, say experts.

The big goal of Tuesday's event was to give parents information to keep their kids safe, according to Liz Newlin of Wake County Safe Kids.

Lots of parents at the traffic stop said that the information was welcome, because car seats can be tough to use.

Police also advise parents to write all of the child's emergency information on a sticker, and slap it on the back of the car seat. Include the child's name, the parents' names and phone numbers, the child's doctor -- anything you might need in an emergency.

It's especially important to have that sticker if the child rides around with someone other than a parent, like a babysitter.

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Amanda Lamb, Reporter
Mark Copeland, Photographer
Brian Shrader, Web Editor

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