CPS technicians do so much to help keep kids safe, from car seat checks to helping parents and caregivers understand all they can do to prevent unintentional injuries in and around cars.
As a CPS technician, we share our knowledge to work through a variety of activities, including community presentations and/or child safety seat checks where parents and caregivers receive education and hands-on assistance with the proper use of child restraint systems and seat belts. A majority of parents still misuse their child restraints and need help to get it right.
Our goal as CPS Technicians is to educate every family so they leave an inspection safer than when they arrived. If a child’s car seat needs to be replaced (does not fit the child, is expired, recalled, etc.), our obligation is to help the caregiver make the decision to replace the seat as soon as possible and to use the seat they currently have until such time. Seldom does a recall require an immediate replacement. Technicians should document the identified problem on the checklist form and explain parent choices, noting how the child left the inspection. If a replacement seat is available, it should, of course, be provided.
- If the seat is expired, explain the safety risks, encourage the caregiver to acquire a new seat, and document it on the checklist.
- If the seat is recalled, explain the recall, encourage the caregiver to contact the manufacturer for the remedy and document it on the checklist. It is not the duty of the technician to repair the seat on the spot. If they have the repair kit provided by the manufacturer and show the parent how to fix it, great! That gets documented, too.
- If the history of the seat is unknown, explain the potential risks and encourage the caregiver to acquire a new seat as soon as possible and document it on the checklist.
- If the seat is visibly damaged, show the damage, explain the issue, encourage the caregiver to acquire a new seat immediately and document it on the checklist. Suggest they contact their insurance company if the car seat had been in a crash.
- If the seat is inappropriate for the child by age, weight or height, discuss what type of seat is appropriate, explain the risks of the current seat and document. This is especially critical if they are using a seat outside manufacturer instructions. Have them initial the comment (e.g. child is too heavy, too tall, is a toddler in a booster). Encourage them to get new seat ASAP.
All you really need for a checkup is a currently certified CPST, a checklist form that is filled out completely and accurately, a current recall list, access to instructions (car seat and vehicle), a pencil, and an interested caregiver with a car seat. You will never go wrong going back to basics!
Some examples of CPS Community Education
- Multicultural/Diverse Community Outreach
- Cultural Sensitivity
- How to run an inspection station
- Children in and around cars (backovers, hyperthermia/heatstroke)
- Community Outreach and Media Engagement
SOS currently has two advocate certified as technicians and is working on getting more advocates and law enforcement officer trained. This year we have assisted in coordinated in hosting this training for staff, and community partners.