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Experts check children’s car seats for safety at Lodi Lake

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Posted: Friday, July 27, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 5:56 am, Fri Jul 27, 2012.

As her two children playfully climbed in and out of the family minivan, Cheryl Breech of Lodi stood by watching Debra Caffrey, a child safety technician, point out everything wrong with her car seats.

"There are so many little adjustments that need to be made," Breech said.

On Thursday, AAA Child Passenger Safety technicians and the Lodi Police Department, with support from the Lodi Sunrise Rotary, the Police Officers Association and De Vinci's restaurant, held a car seat safety check at Lodi Lake in an effort to ensure parents are properly securing their children.

For each vehicle that entered the check, technicians certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration closely inspected each car and booster seat, pointing out and fixing anything that may be a danger to a child passenger.

Technicians checked for recalled car and booster seats, adjusted straps to fit between the necks and shoulders and across the laps of children, and determined if the seats were the correct size.

After each technician completed the exam, Emma Olenberger, community relations and traffic safety specialist for AAA, double-checked the seats, ensuring all were properly installed and being used correctly.

A limited number of car seats were made available by the Lodi Sunrise Rotary in case a new seat was needed immediately.

"It's protecting the child," Olenberger said. "Even a 16-year old passenger can be cited if they don't fit in a seat."

During the checks, parents were also made aware of car and booster seat laws that changed in January.

Currently children up to 8 years old or 4-feet, 9-inches tall are required to be in car or booster seats.

The fine for an improperly secured passenger can be more than $475.

"You don't want us to be the ones who tell you that," joked Officer Eric Versteeg of the Lodi Police Department.

For more information about car seats and child safety, visit www.nhtsa.gov/safety/cps.

Contact Chief Photographer Dan Evans at dane@lodinews.com.

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