San Juan Public Health director Kirk Benge announced this week that the San Juan Public Health office at 196 East Center Street in Blanding is once again offering car seat checks to the public.
Health educator Donna Harlow, RN, received certification as a Child Passenger Safety Technician on May 18 and is available for car seat checks on most Tuesday afternoons or by appointment.
According to the American Automobile Association, child restraints (car seats) reduce the risk of injury by 71 to 82 percent and reduce risk of death by 28 percent when compared to using seat belts alone.
Booster seats, AAA found, reduce nonfatal injury risk by about 45 percent in the 4-to-8-year-old age group. However, child seats and booster seats are often used incorrectly.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2006 found that 72 percent of almost 3,500 car or booster seats were misused in a manner that could decrease the degree of protection offered to children in a car crash.
Since vehicular crashes are a leading cause of death for children in the United States, these numbers are significant and sobering.
CPS Technicians are trained to assist children’s caregivers by explaining and demonstrating selection of the correct restraint system for a child’s age, height, weight, and developmental level; correct direction (forward-facing or rear-facing) using the same determinants; appropriate location in the vehicle; correct installation; and appropriate, secure use of harness or seat belt. Technicians also maintain up-to-date lists of recalled car seats.
“I can’t always create the perfect situation,” says Harlow, “but my goal is to make sure every child who comes in for a car seat check leaves safer than when he or she arrived.
“Sometimes that means replacing the car seat outright, and we do keep a small stock of car seats available at highly discounted prices just for that purpose. I hope to be kept very busy climbing in and out of cars!”
The next “Technician Tuesdays” is June 27 from 1-5 p.m. Caregivers should plan to spend about 30 minutes for a single car seat check, longer for multiples.
Anyone not able to attend a Technician Tuesday event should call San Juan Public Health at 435-678-2723 to set up an appointment.