By Debbie Hersman
Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician since 2004
As a mother of three children, I’ve had lots of practice installing child seats. Unfortunately, snugly attaching these devices to cars is not easy, and every year, there are new child seat designs and new vehicle designs which can further complicate the process. That’s what makes permanent fitting stations, where parents are educated on best practices for transporting children and techniques for installing child seats, so important.
For the last 12 years, Fitzgerald Auto Malls has provided this service in the Washington, D.C. region. Jack Fitzgerald is committed to child passenger safety, and his volunteers are some of the most dedicated and capable child seat technicians around. What I really admire about Jack is that his child seat inspections are not just for his customers, but for anyone seeking to learn how to install the seat properly.
Today, Jack and his volunteers reached an amazing milestone, checking their 40,000th child safety seat! I don’t think I’ve done anything 40,000 times. It would take 55 years of brushing my teeth twice a day every day to reach that number. But month after month, year after year, Jack and his team have made countless children safer and show no signs of stopping any time soon.
I want to commend Jack and all the volunteers who participate in these life-saving child seat inspections. When Fitzgerald Auto Malls started these monthly events, the misuse rate of child seats was 97 percent; today, the misuse rate has dropped to 50 percent. They are showing how people in the community can make a real difference!