Investigating the Issues That Affect You Most

Alderman Wants Retailers to Carry Part of Car Seat Safety Burden

Illinois Retail Merchants Association says ordinance would begin "slippery slope" toward more educational signs

By Lisa Parker
|  Tuesday, Jun 8, 2010  |  Updated 4:45 PM CDT
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Merchants says ordinance would begin

Merchants says ordinance would begin "slippery slope."

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The Chicago City Council on Wednesday will consider a proposal aimed at getting parents expert help when it comes to wrestling the alligator that is a child car safety seat.

An estimated 83.9 percent of child car seats are not installed correctly, potentially exposing children to serious risk.

"The scary part about that is when parents are polled, 96 percent of parents think their car seat is in correctly," according to Steve Breden, a certified child passenger safety technician.

Those numbers inspired Ald. James Balcer (11th) to introduce an ordinance that would require any retailer selling child car seats to post an informational flyer with 20 feet of the car seat that is for sale. The flyer would provide parents with a phone number and a website where they can access a certified child passenger safety technician who can install a seat or answer questions about the process.

He said the legislation, which passed through subcommittee last week, would save frustration and lives.

"One thousand children are dying each year [and ]184,000 are injured. I felt something had to be done," he said.

But the measure is opposed by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, which said the idea would put stores on a slippery slope.

"The concern we have is that somehow the responsibility for educating consumers on the proper way to install a car seat has fallen on the retailers," said IRMA Senior Counsel Tanya Triche. "So you can imagine a certain percentage of our store being taken up with 'educational' sort of signs. So that's an issue for us."

Balcer took IRMA to task upon hearing the comments.

"Shame on them. It's a slippery slope. Fine, let it keep sliding. Whatever it takes to save the lives of children, to prevent children from being injured -- I'm all for that," he said.

Target 5:  Investigating the Issues That Affect You Most

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