Christina's Baby Journey
(WEAR) - One brand new baby thing that has Christina Leavenworth a bit befuddled is the car safety seat.
"It's a foreign contraption. You don't know how to put it together, how to set it up in your car, so it's very intimidating," she said.
Christina turned to Pensacola Fire Department's Lt. Gary Creel.
"Statistically, over 90% of all seats are installed incorrectly," said Lt. Creel.
He said it's not because parents don't care - just that most don't know exactly how to perform such an important task, and it's complicated.
That's why Lt. Creel, a certified Child Passenger Safety Instructor, and other certified fighters make sure their seats are safe.
Creel said to find, "child restraint that fits your child. Secondly, we want to find a child restraint that fits the vehicle, and third and just as important - we want to find a child restraint that we will use correctly every time."
Creel drove home three main points to Christina: make sure the restraint straps rest at or below the baby's shoulder's, the retaining clip stays at armpit level, and always do a pinch test.
"If you can pinch and pull them wobbly, it's too loose," said Creel.
He says to forget baby view mirrors or shades in the back seat.
"If it did not come with the child restraint, did not come in the box, it hasn't been crash tested to be used," Creel said.
He also says to say "no" to hand me down seats. "If you don't know the history of the seat, don't use it. If you find it at a garage sale, don't buy it."
Christina is also worried about possibly forgetting a quiet, or sleeping infant in a broiling car accidentally. "I think that is going to be something constantly on my mind. Almost like - 'did i leave the oven on?'"
It's an unlikely, yet terrifying scenario.
Creel suggests new parents put their cell phones, purses, or briefcases on the back floorboard under the car seat to avoid such a tragedy. "Take a shoe off. Put it in the back seat. You're not gonna go to work without having both shoes on."
It's great advice Christina is happy to have along with a safe car seat. "I've told my husband he cannot touch it, and it is set up perfectly, so now it's ready to go."
Lt. Creel said they are willing to help parents install car seats but they must make an appointment by calling 850-436-5200.