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Need help installing car seats? Our Public Safety Department has you covered

Attention Nevada residents — especially those of you about to embark on the adventure of installing a child’s car seat – the City of Nevada has a valuable service available to you.

The Nevada Public Safety Department can help residents learn how to install car seats properly.

While all Nevada officers have some basic training in this area, the Department recently had a second officer become certified as a Child Passenger Safety Technician.

Officer Matt Celentano (pictured), who has been with the Nevada PSD for about three years, completed training at the Clive Police Department in May. He now joins Community Service Officer Nancy Pritchard as the Public Safety Department’s certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians.

Celentano attended a four-day course, paid for by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, and taught by Janna Day, Child Passenger Safety Coordinator with Blank Children’s Hospital. Celentano and Pritchard are both certified with the National Child Passenger Safety Board.

The timing could not be more perfect for Celentano, who just became a father for the first time in late April when his daughter Chloe was born.

“Before taking the course, I had put her car seat in, and it took me about 30 minutes. After going through the course, I could put it in correctly in just a few minutes. I also noticed there were some things I hadn’t done quite right when I first installed it,” he said.

Celentano noted that one of the most common mistakes people make when installing their car seat is to “double up” on some of the safety features. “For example, on some of the bases of the car seats there is what’s called a ‘lock-off.’ For many car seats, that feature is supposed to be used by itself, unless the car seat’s manufacturer recommends differently.”

The confusion, Celentano said, often comes in because of the variables in car seats and in vehicles. “You have multiple manufacturers of car seats, and you have an endless variety of vehicles those car seats will go into. How they work together is important to understand.” And to understand it, he said, you need to thoroughly read the car seat manual, and you might need to consult with someone who has gone through training, like himself or Pritchard.

Other questions can also come up regarding car seats. How long does my child need to be in one? What style is best for my child? When is it time to change to a booster seat? Is a booster seat necessary? Can I buy a used car seat? And so on.

If you want to talk to one of the Nevada Public Safety Department’s Child Passenger Safety Technicians, please call the non-emergency police number, 515-382-4305, to make an appointment.

“Plan to spend a little time at the appointment,” Celentano advises. “It may take me only 2 minutes to install a car seat, but ultimately, I’m going to show you how to do it, and I want you to be able to install it on your own before you leave.”

Nevada officers will also provide people with a child passenger safety checklist and a list of recalled car seats.

–Written by Marlys Barker, City of Nevada

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