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Sherri Richards, Published May 09 2010

Safety Shoppe: New place for safety resources

Brianna Davis’ baby is due June 1, so on Saturday, she and Mike Sullivan, both of Fargo, had their infant car seat installation inspected.

“Neither of us has done this before, so (we’re) making sure we do it right,” Davis said.

Sullivan pulled on the seatbelt strap in the two-door Honda Civic. “I don’t know if it’s tight enough,” he said.

They expected the car seat check would be done at FM Ambulance, where monthly inspection dates have been scheduled for years, but Saturday was the grand opening of the Safety Shoppe in north Fargo, the new, permanent home for car seat inspections and other child safety resources.

The Safety Shoppe, 601 39th St. N., is a collaboration of Safe Kids Fargo/Moorhead, MeritCare and AAA. A grant from AAA funded the new site, which includes a cheerily decorated office and separate garage bay.

The Safety Shoppe will be open Monday and Thursday afternoon for scheduled car seat checks, as well as bike helmet inspections. Bike helmets are available for a $10 donation. The site is also home to educational materials for parents and caregivers.

Car seat checks will no longer be done at FM Ambulance.

“It’s definitely going to be more customer friendly, meeting the customer needs,” said Bobbi Paper, Safe Kids coordinator.

Parents and caregivers will still need to make an appointment for car seat checks by calling (701) 234-5570, but Paper hopes that will reduce the one- to two-month wait time that many parents have faced.

Now, instead of inspecting an average of 30 car seats a month, the Safety Shoppe can inspect 16 a week, or 64 a month.

David Torpen of Fargo attended the grand opening because he and his wife, Amy, were updating car seats for their 20-month-old daughter, Allison, and their newborn son, Johnathan.

“It think it’s great that we have a new facility,” he said, but added the new site – just west of Interstate 29 and right off Seventh Avenue North – was tougher to get to.

Paper said having a centralized location for safety resources and inspections has been on her “wish list for many, many years.”

“We know this is something that’s needed,” she said. “The community needs are out there.”

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556