The McMinnville Police Department will be doing child passenger seat inspections at St. Catherine Catholic Church on Saturday and Sunday.
Patrol Officer Mark Mara said the event is part of an outreach program McMinnville Police are doing as part of Seat Check Saturday, a national campaign. Mara said they can communicate with far more people during outreach rather than doing so during traffic stops.
“We struggle with getting information out to caregivers,” Mara said. “About not only the laws regarding child passenger seats but also information to determine whether they’re doing it correctly or not.”
Mara said that during his experience as a patrol officer and doing outreach, he has seen nearly half of child safety seats installed incorrectly. Mara said that this number can vary depending on whether the child’s caregivers have been able to access proper information.
“One of the most common errors that we see is, you know philosophy ‘if one is good then two is better?’” Mara said. “Well, when it comes to car seats, if you’re using a seat belt and the anchors, you know the straps around the bottom of the car seat? And you attaching it to the car, that’s not better it’s actually worse.”
Mara said that one reason why McMinnville Police chose to host the event at St. Catherine Catholic Church is the large Hispanic community. Mara said that communities such as these often don’t have access to safety information in their native language. Mara said that this can be a primary reason why these communities can have higher numbers of improper car seat installations.
“It’s kind of like fishing, you do to where you getting the bites,” Mara said. “So, at St. Catherine’s we knew there was a diverse group there and so we talked to them. We actually attended a couple of their church services and talked to them about car seats. And so we found out that was a great place.”