Fitzgerald Dealerships Hit Child Seat Safety Milestone

Jack Fitzgerald celebrates installing 45,000 child seats at his dealerships

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Certified child safety seat technician prepares to install a child safety seat at a Fitzgerald Auto Mall in Frederick.

Provided by Fitzgerald Auto Mall

This morning, Fitzgerald Auto Malls installed the 45,000th child seat at one of Fitzgerald’s automobile dealerships.

The milestone was achieved at the same location where owner Jack Fitzgerald began installing child safety seats for free in 1999, his dealership on Nicholson Lane in Rockville.

“I remember when we were first exposed to it,” Fitzgerald said, referring to the knowledge that people were installing child safety seats incorrectly. “It was a rainy Saturday at Nicholson Lane, at our GM store, and we had the county people putting on the seat check for us and we had people helping out. I assumed with all the bright people we have in Montgomery County, they would know how to install a child seat…but we soon realized many of the seats being brought to us were being installed incorrectly.”

That’s when Fitzgerald, who branded his business philosophy as the FitzWay, made a commitment to offer child seat installation as a free service at his dealerships.

“I just was so shocked to see that,” said Fitzgerald, who described common errors such as the seat facing the wrong way or not being properly anchored to the vehicle’s seat.

He said the key to safety in any vehicle is to be buckled in place in order to withstand the massive g-forces caused by an accident.

“If you don’t bounce around like a pingpong ball in a bottle, you have a good chance of surviving,” Fitzgerald said. “The same thing is true with a child; they have to be anchored in place.”

More than 100 employees at Fitzgerald dealerships have taken four-day certification classes to learn how to make sure kids are safe in cars, according to Fitzgerald. The dealerships offer monthly inspections without an appointment on the third Thursday of every month from March through November as well as in appointments that can be made at other times. Fitzgerald owns a total of 20 vehicle dealerships in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Florida.

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