Car crashes are a leading killer of children under 12 years old in the United States. The best way to protect kids in the car is to put them in the right seat and use it the right way. In tonight's Baby 101, NBC29's Libby Allison talk with a team working hard to make sure area kids are safe.

Hundreds of thousands of kids are riding around every day in improperly installed car seats.

According to Donna Walker, Albemarle Fire and Rescue's child seat safety coordinator, "Across the nation it's about 90%. In our local area it's about 80% from what we see come in."

A properly installed car seat is the best protection you can give your child when traveling by car. Every state in the country requires that an infant or small child be restrained, and with good reason.

Walker says unintentional injuries, including car crashes, are the leading cause of death in children, and in many cases they can be prevented.

"Rear-facing car seats are designed to take the impact of a collision or sudden deceleration, and if it's not installed properly it's going to be just thrown around in the car and not protect the child, like it's designed to do," Walker stated.

The Albemarle County Fire and Rescue Department has a child safety seat inspection program that provides a safety check - free of charge.

If you want to get your car seat checked by Albemarle Fire and Rescue, appointment times vary from week to week so you will need to call or email to make an appointment. You can reach them at 434-531-6614 or by e-mail:

Walker says investing 20 minutes on a car seat check could truly save a life.