A veteran Iowa police officer who was one of the first to be trained in how to properly install child carseats in vehicles says the state has come a long way. Sergeant Mark Nagel of Urbandale took the first training course in 1998 from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau. Nagel says putting that training to use wasn’t easy when they held their first public checkpoint at a car dealership.
Nagel says they had a four hour block where they were going to check the seats, and they just sat there. He says a salesman finally called his wife and the dealer’s wife brought a car to be checked. Nagel says they started publicizing the need for properly installed carseats, and a short time later another checkpoint was busier.
He says they were going to be there two hours and they ended up staying for seven hours and did 90 some cars.
Nagel says he’s seen the attitudes change as the state has pushed for proper carseat use and toughened the carseat laws. Nagel says parents are coming out and learning how to properly restrain their kids. He says he doesn’t know if that’s because of the new laws, or if parents are just more educated in the problems of not having kids secured properly.
Nagel says there’s another indication that parents are doing a better job. Nagel says the very first year they did checks it seemed like they took one out of every four carseats because they were on the product recall list. He says they always gave parents better seats, but he remembers nights where he didn’t have enough room in his van for the confiscated seats. Nagel says they’ll do checks now with 45 cars and not find one recalled seat.
A survey says 82-percent of kids up to the age of 11 are properly buckled in. Nagel says there’s still some kids who’re at risk. He wants to see that change by they time they hold his retirement ceremony in two years. He says when they have these people usually speak about the officers. He says usually the officer wants them to say the officer made some good arrests. Nagel says he wants them to tell him “good job Nagel, we didn’t lose a single kid this year.” Nagel spoke about his experience as part of a kick off to a new state ad campaign “Join the Click” designed to get parents and kids to buckle up in cars.