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posted: 6/12/2013 5:45 PM

Trouble installing child seats? Get expert help

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  • Daily Herald File PhotoHelp is on hand for parents and caregivers daunted by complicated child safety seats.

    Daily Herald File PhotoHelp is on hand for parents and caregivers daunted by complicated child safety seats.


If installing your child safety seat is almost as difficult as getting your toddler to sit in it, help is at hand.

Illinois State Police and the Illinois tollway are collaborating to offer a series of educational events throughout the summer where trained officers will assist in installing seats and offer advice on correct sizing and any recalls.

About 80 percent of child safety seats are improperly installed, officials said. Seats reduce fatalities in vehicle crashes by 71 percent for babies up to age 1 and by 54 percent for children ages 1 to 4.

In Illinois, 36 children aged 14 and younger were killed in traffic crashes in 2011.

The agencies will also provide free identification cards for children ages 3 and up to help in the event a child is lost.

Upcoming events include:

• 2 to 6 p.m. Friday at the Alsip Jewel-Osco

• 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Villa Park Jewel-Osco

• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 29 at the Bolingbrook IKEA

• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 5 at the Chicago Southland Lincoln Oasis

• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 6 at the Kohl Children's Museum in Glenview

• 2 to 6 p.m. July 16 at the Glendale Heights Jewel-Osco • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 27 at the DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville

• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 3 at the Schaumburg IKEA

• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Illinois tollway headquarters in Downers Grove.

Find out more at

Common installation errors include using both seatbelts and the latch system to secure seats, loose seats, and harnesses that aren't snug.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents keep children in rear-facing restraints until age 2 or until maximum weight and height restrictions are reached. In general, children 2 and older should ride in forward-facing safety seats until they reach weight and height limits.

Older children should use a booster seat until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall and between ages 8 and 12 years, experts advise.

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