Erin Frustaci

Firefighter Doug Kelley teaches soon-to-be parents Ty
and Leigh Aslin how to properly install a car seat into their VW
Passat on Sunday morning during the Castle Rock Fire and Rescue
Department’s first car seat checkup event. Kelley said the
department is trying to get the program going and hopes to have
more checkup events in the future.

By Erin Frustaci

Ninety percent of the child safety seats inspected by the Child
Passenger Safety Team Colorado were improperly installed, according
to the CPS Web site. The National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration says nationwide, 62.3 percent of all child
restraints are used improperly.

While these numbers may be alarming, efforts are being made
locally to build awareness for parents. The Castle Rock Fire and
Rescue Department hosted its first car seat safety day Sunday.
Several CRFD car seat technicians were on hand to demonstrate to
parents how to properly install car seats.

“This way, we have a specific time dedicated to car seat
installation,” said Doug Kelley, firefighter and emergency medical

Ty and Leigh Aslin of Castle Rock are expecting their first
child and want to be as prepared as possible. The couple heard of
the car seat inspection day through a parenting class at Sky Ridge
Medical Center.

“They go through everything from how to put the car seat in to
how to take it out and reinstall it,” Ty Aslin said.

The couple said the firefighters were helpful and
knowledgeable,and the demonstration was great. Leigh Aslin is seven
and a half months pregnant.

“I can just tell how secure the car seat was,” Leigh Aslin said.
“I would never have been able to get it that secure if I did it
myself. These guys go through five days of training, so to think
you could do it in 15 seconds is ridiculous.”

The fire department now has 17 certified car seat technicians.
The training, offered by the Colorado State Patrol, covers many
different car seats, how proper versus improper installation looks
and height and weight restrictions. The certifications must be
renewed every two years.

One of the many tips Ty Aslin said he learned from the
firefighters was to make sure the car seat is put back properly if
it is ever taken out after the car is taken in for detailing or a
car wash. He also was shown how important it is that the seat is
level in the car so that the child’s airway isn’t

“It is really important to get car seats checked so that the car
seats will work properly in a crash,” Kelley said.

Kelley said the fire department hopes to hold more car seat
check days and eventually offer one every month. Twelve cars drove
through the first inspection event.

In the interim, safety seat checks can be done at the fire
station from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on any day provided a technician is
on duty. To schedule an appointment call Lori Kania at

Baby bouncers

The fire department also warns parents to not place babies in
bouncer seats on top of tabletops. The department has received two
calls in the last month about babies injured after falling off the
table. In each case, the baby had to be transported to the
hospital. Bouncer seats are reclining seats that sit on a flexible
metal frame for babies 25 pounds or less. The baby’s movement
allows the frame to move slightly creating a soothing bouncing
movement. Bouncer seats should remain on the floor and the baby
should be strapped in while sitting in the seat.

Contact Erin Frustaci at