CHARLOTTE, N.C. --Rick Kara and his girls know the drill.
"Get in your car seat, please,” he tells his toddlers.
Every day, Rick straps 2-year-old Bridget and 4-year-old Brianna in their car seats. He, more than most dads, understands the importance of the routine, thanks to his wife.
“The Queen, yes,” he laughs.
Rick’s wife, Joyce Kara, is a product manager with Britax. The Charlotte company manufactures car seats and is on a push to educate parents about the importance of safety seats.
What should parents look for?
“A five-point harness with the right weight limit and one that will fit in the vehicle and good side impact protection,” said Kara.
Car accidents are the leading cause of death in children under the age of 14, she said. Kara has more statistics on why the safety seats are so important, pointing to research that says properly used car seats decrease the risk of death by 70 percent for infants and 50 percent for toddlers.
Kara says properly using tethers, the straps that keep the seats in place, also saves lives.
“Using the tether prevents and keeps the head from flying too far forward in a crash,” she said.
Britax safety seats also click, letting parents know that their children are secured tightly. It’s a message and a reminder Rick Kara believes all parents need to know.
"These are our children. We've got to protect them," he said.
Britax is offering free lessons on the correct way to install car seats. The Car Seat Check will be held September 21 from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at BRITAX USA Headquarters in Charlotte. The address is 13501 South Ridge Drive. No appointments are necessary.
If you can’t make it to the Britax safety check next Friday, you can go to safekidscharmeck.org for other locations that check car seat installation.