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Child Safety- Car Seats, Bike Helmets, & Water Safety

Car Seats

Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue hosts monthly car seat clinics. A car seat check is FREE! Find more info on our Events page.

Thanks to a great partnership with Safe Kids Lower Columbia and the Cowlitz County Child Passenger Safety Team, many local agencies are able to provide free car seat inspections between clinics by appointment only. Car seats may be available for purchase at these appointments (fee varies depending on the family's income and the necessary seat). If you would like to set up an appointment, please contact one of the agencies below:
    - Brandi with Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue at 360.575.6280
    - Sarah with Longview Fire Department at 360.442.5503
    - Deann with Cowlitz Fire District #5 at 360.673.2222.


There are many car seat choices on the market. Use the information below (from www.safecar.gov) to help you choose a seat that fits your needs.

Birth - 12 Months
Your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.

1-3 Years
Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It's the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat's manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.

4-7 Years
Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat's manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it's time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.

8-12 Years
Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember: your child should still ride in the back seat because it's safer there. Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12...it's not only safer, but it's the law!


Bike Helmets

A bicycle helmet reduces the risk of serious head injury by 85%. However, it is not enough to simply wear one - you need to make sure it fits properly.

Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue, along with all fire departments in Cowlitz County are able to offer bike helmets to the community at no cost thanks to Safe Kids Lower Columbia. For more information or to set up an appointment, please contact Brandi Ballinger by email or by phone at 360.575.6280.

If you already have a bike helmet and would like to know if your child is wearing it properly, read the information below. You can contact us as well if you are unsure. Click here for a Bike Helmet Fitting Guide to help answer all your questions.Helpful Hints for Purchasing a Bike Helmet:
Buy one that has been tested and approved for protection. You can determine this by looking for an ASTM, ANSI, or Snell sticker on the inside.

Select a brand and size that fits well prior to any adjustments. Adjustable sizing pads are often included to help ensure a better fit. Buy one that's comfortable and attractive because your child will be more likely to wear it if they like it.


Buy a helmet that fits your child now, not a helmet to "grow into". Download this PDF on How to Fit a Bicycle Helmet.
Replace any helmet that has been involved in a crash!


Water Safety

Among preventable injuries, drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1 – 4 years old. Children 1 – 4 years old are more likely to drown in a pool. Children 5 years and older are more likely to drown in natural water, such as ponds, lakes and rivers.

Safe Kids Lower Columbia provides life jacket loaner boards at Willow Grove, Horseshoe Lake, and the Castle Rock Boat Launch.

Using a life jacket while in and around the water is the best way to reduce chances of drowning. Supervising children, using a buddy system, and taking frequent breaks from the cold water can also prevent accidents.

Click here for a pool safety checklist from Safe Kids.