SIOUX FALLS - A fatal accident on Thursday at 41st & Minnesota could have been much worse.

One vehicle involved in the accident, a Dodge Durango had five occupants, two adults and three children. Two of the children were in car seats. They were transported to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

That means the car seats did their jobs. Many of us have seen this time and time again, children in vehicles, not in a car seat, not buckled. Thankfully, the children involved in this accident were buckled in.

The Sioux Falls Fire Department goes to great lengths to ensure that parents know how to properly buckle their children. Sioux Falls Fire Captain, Grant VanRiesen at Fire Station 3 is Sioux Falls Fire Department’s Car Seat Coordinator. Every Saturday morning from 9am-11am at Fire Station #3 at 2820 S. Minnesota Avenue, certified car seat specialists are on hand to help parents properly install their car seat.

“Using car seats can be a hassle, depending on the brand but time and time again they’ve proven to save lives. They are designed to take an impact.  All car seats sold today must meet federal safety guidelines,” said VanRiesen.

He said many first-time parents come to the fire station seeking advice on car seats but he also helps many grandparents with safety seats. And VanRiesen reminds parents and grandparents not to buy car seats at thrift stores or garage sales.

“My suggestion is, if you don’t know where the seat came from, don’t use it,” said
VanRiesen. Car seats expire. After six years they should be thrown away. And a car seat is only designed for one car accident. If it’s been in an accident, throw it away.

VanRiesen reminds parents that they don’t have to spend a fortune on a high-end car seat. An expensive safety seat does not guarantee that it is safer than a less expensive seat.

“All car seats sold today are federally inspected and they must all meet those federal standards.”

VanRiesen says the fire department provides car seats to low income families that have proof of state financial assistance like food stamps or Medicaid. And every seat that is inspected at the fire station is labeled with a “Chad Sticker.”  This is a personalized label on the side of the car seat that gives personal information on the child, like his date of birth, doctor’s information, an emergency contact  and hospital preference.

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