HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Childproofing your car isn’t always easy. But both car and medical experts agree proper car seat awareness can save lives.

“As a mom myself, I can confirm car seat installation is very difficult,” said Elizabeth Sanders, Vice President of Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children. “In fact, even if we had attempted to install it is always important for us to make an appointment and still have them check it.”

Sanders speaks of the hospital foundation’s passenger safety technician team, which has taught parents how to secure car seats free of charge for almost 20 years.

“We need to be aware that most of our car seats are not installed properly,” said Karen Ivey, the hospital’s certified child passenger safety technician. “You may think you’ve got it put in correctly but there may be a little mistake here of there or a misconception.”

Misconceptions that can lead to unexpected visits to the hospital — or worse.

“I’ve been the ER for 16 years,” said Jessica Branscome, who works in the hospital’s emergency department. “You are way more likely to get significantly injured not being in a car seat and even more so being in an improperly installed one. I’ve had seats come loose, and then you have an infant who’s in a loose seat. And the weight of that seat itself can cause injuries to your child. So you’re way more likely to get hurt not being in one or being in an improperly installed one.”

For September, the hospital teams up with ‘buckle up for life’, a program created by Toyota, as part of ‘national child passenger safety month’.

“This service is invaluable to the community because parents have a lot of other things on their mind, a lot of things they have to do,” Ivey continued. “And if we can just help them with this one particular thing – we need to keep our children safe in their vehicles.”