(COLORADO) — Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) data from 2022 showed a 66% increase in car seat misuse rates in the state or approximately 3,000 of Colorado’s children are vulnerable in the event of a crash.

This week, 16 individuals from law enforcement, fire, and emergency response teams, along with community groups, are doing their part by becoming certified car seat safety technicians.

The course is administered by Car Seats Colorado and SafeKids Worldwide.

Once these individuals are certified, they will be added to a growing list of technicians who provide free and needed car seat safety inspections and caregiver training statewide.

According to CDOT, car crashes are the leading cause of death among children under the age of 13. Proper use of car seats significantly reduces the risk of injury and death in the event of a crash. However, many parents and caregivers struggle with installing and using child safety seats correctly.

“Common car seat mistakes include improperly installing the car seat, selecting a car seat that is not appropriate for the child’s height and weight, and not harnessing the child properly,” said Angel Giffin, a Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor for Car Seats Colorado.

According to CDOT, the four-day certification course teaches students important information that all parents should know as well, including;

  • How to select an appropriate child car seat, booster seat, or seat belt.
  • How to properly harness the child in their car seat.
  • How to properly install car seats into vehicles.

Once trained, CDOT said the technicians will become part of a statewide network of about 100 car seat check stations. The stations are commonly found at hospitals, fire stations, police stations, or community organizations.

“Kids are our most precious cargo,” said Beth Schlauch who is training to become a certified car seat safety technician. “Getting certified through this program will give me the confidence to educate parents and caregivers, and ultimately, protect parents and children against one of the biggest tragedies any family could face.”