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Experts aim to educate parents during 'National Child Passenger Safety Week'

Specialists clear up the ever-changing rules on how to properly strap your child in.

MAUMEE, Ohio — Car seats are something that can confuse, frustrate and even scare new parents.

This week is National Child Passenger Safety Week. Recent statistics show, every 32 seconds, one child under the age of 13 in a passenger vehicle is involved in a crash. Many times, injuries and deaths can be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters and seat belts.

"Our numbers average between 85 and 90% of families are not using their car seats properly, and those are just the people who are coming to see us. So, our national averages are about 75% misuse. That means, about three out of four people are either using the wrong car seats, or they are using it the wrong way, or it is not installed properly inside their vehicle," Pediatric Injury Prevention Specialist for Safe Kids Jami Melton said.

Car seat manufacturers set the requirements for proper usage, which varies with every different seat you buy, whether it's front facing, rear facing or any variety of options.

In Ohio, the law is as long as your child is under 4'9" you're supposed to do what the manufacturer has advised.

"There's the state law and then there's laws of physics, and the laws of physics always beat state law. You can protect your child to the state law which is a bare minimum, but what we try to do is encourage families to protect their children to the maximum," Melton said.

To get your child's car seat checked out, Safe Kids holds free events regularly. The company is based locally out of ProMedica Toledo Hospital and has five certified technicians to make sure you and your family are safe.

They encourage those expecting, new parents and those with young kids who are growing, to call 419-291-5412 and make an appointment. Melton said that the third trimester of pregnancy is an ideal time, but don't wait until you're having contractions as she's seen some people do in the past.

Michael Smith of Maumee came out for a demonstration on Monday at the firehouse. He said that as a new parent, every bit of reassurance helps. 

"It wasn't just them doing it for me and sending me out, they really took the time to teach me how to do this and make me understand all the steps required to get them into the car safely," Smith said.

The National Highway Safety Administration has a very valuable tool on their website to help parents find the right car seat for their child.

If you're done with the car seat phase of your family's lives, or are ready for an upgrade, you can recycle the car seat your child has outgrown and get a $30 Walmart gift card at most local Walmart stores through the end of the month. 

RELATED: Walmart launches its first car seat recycling program Monday

Toledo Fire will be working with the company on September 26 at Station 12 on Chase Street from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Safe Kids will also be out at Dunn Chevy Buick in Oregon this Saturday, September 21 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

RELATED: Toledo's 'Pothole Blitz' program comes to an end