A Car Seat clinic was held Monday afternoon at the Weyburn Police Service Headquarters, and Certified Car Seat Technician, Constable Kalin Wiebe, said they had a good turnout as they got closer to the end of the afternoon.

"The nice thing about it is, a lot of the people that I have done car seat installs and checks for, they've really kind of passed my name around, so we didn't have as many as we maybe were hoping for yesterday, but throughout the year I do check seats on a regular basis, so that in itself is good, that the community knows that we do provide that service at the Weyburn Police Service."

He said with so many different car seat manufacturers out there with different installation methods, some seats are a lot easier to install.

"And there are others that even I have difficulty installing," he noted. "So with that being said, the ones that are typically more difficult to install are the ones that we see the most issues with."

He said all car seats are tested to the same standard through Transport Canada.

"It's a pass or fail, so really, what we recommend is purchasing a seat that is easy to install, because the likelihood of an issue with a difficult seat means that there could be an issue with the safety of the seat itself, just because of incorrect installation," explained Wiebe.

He said everyone who attended the car seat clinic yesterday did have, "some level of deficiency in that seat. Most were very minor. Usually, it was the tightness of the latch."

Wiebe noted another common mistake is using both securing functions.

"Family members who put the seats in themselves think they should use the seat belt and the universal anchor system, and the seats are tested either with the seat belt or with the UAS system, so they're not to be installed with both, so that's a common error."

He said it just goes to show in the 20 to 30 minutes it takes for him to go over a car seat could possibly save a life or prevent a child from being injured. 

"And it's not that the parent has done something wrong when they're installing it," he clarified. "It's simply some seats are very difficult to install, so just having someone that has a little higher level of knowledge and experience putting notes in is it's not a bad thing, and it's actually great that parents do come to us and ask for us to check their seats." 

"I take pride in doing it. I have a little one myself, so I always use her as an example, that, if your child is my child, this is what I'd be doing right now."
Wiebe shared that, as a Car Seat Technician, he attends an annual conference where they're able to learn about the new car seat designs as well as the newer vehicles to be able to assess obstacles to proper seat installation.

For the Car Seat Clinic, Wiebe said he was accompanied by Seat Technician Lorie Norris with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, and Jenn Sedor with Regional KidsFirst.

"One of the first car seats that we checked was a car seat that neither myself nor Laurie had ever seen. So we had to refer to manuals." 

Anyone who wants to have their car seat checked can contact Constable Wiebe via email or phone at 306-848-3250.

"We generally will set up by appointment, simply because we can't always determine what kind of day we're going to have at the police service."

He said the Car Seat Clinics are part of a grant he was able to receive from SGI, which also includes the purchase of a number of car seats. 

The grant from SGI was for $2,500. Then, the Weyburn Police Association contributed $250, and the Weyburn Police Service also made a contribution of $250. 

"So in total, I received $3,000 to purchase seats, so we've partnered with Canadian Tire who are providing a donation-in-lieu, by discounting the seats which will allow me to purchase more seats than without that discount. So I did purchase some seats yesterday, and the purpose of those seats is for people in need." 

Wiebe said the WPS' primary concern is to provide seats to those who are unable to purchase one. 

"If someone, or a family, is not able to afford a car seat, because they are quite expensive, we can donate that car seat for their use," he said, noting they are also partnering with the Family Place, the Weyburn Salvation Army, Regional Kids First, and Southeast Victim Services. 

"If they have a family in need, they will refer them to us and what we'll do is, we'll donate that seat and I will install it."

"This grant is going to be very helpful in the community," Wiebe expressed. "I actually have four families on the waiting list right now for car seats, so I'm hoping to get those disperse those families fairly soon."