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Front Page » January 29, 2002 » Local News » Coalition organizes 2002 child passenger safety restraint...
Published 4,679 days ago

Coalition organizes 2002 child passenger safety restraint checkpoints for Carbon, Emery counties


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By KAREN BASSO
Staff reporter

Safety belts are an important issue to all motorists. But sometimes, drivers fail to realize the importance of securing children who are traveling in motor vehicles. The failure to comply with state and federal laws not only leads to criminal acts, but to unsafe and sometimes deadly situations.

All passengers, along with the driver, should utilize the safety belts that are equipped in the vehicle. Children, however, are a separate issue. A child who is riding in a vehicle must be taught to buckle up, while practicing the safety measure correctly.

The Safe Kids Coalition is one specific group that devotes many hours of training and education to learning and teaching appropriate practices to interested parties. The group not only checks for proper child safety restraints, but the participants also educate motorists about how to travel properly with children and reduce the rate of injuries incurred by youth in traffic accidents.

In Carbon and Emery counties, the Safe Kids Coalition is comprised of health care workers, police agencies and concerned citizens. The main goal is to educate the public about children's safety while riding inside motor vehicles.

The group gathered Jan. 23 to discuss and organize safety checkpoints to be conducted throughout this year.

Checkpoints are sites organized during a period of several hours where concerned motorists may stop and have child safety equipment evaluated for quality and proper use.

The checkpoints also allow motorists to receive education concerning the proper precautions necessary to protect young passengers.

Although not all tentatively planned checkpoints have been finalized, the group has organized an event per month starting in March and continuing throughout September in Emery and Carbon counties. The locations, times and dates will be released prior to individual events.

Check points allow concerned motorist to attend and receive information about child safety. By contacting the local public health departments, the information may be obtained at any given time.

The public health district of fices share the goal of educating residents interested in learning more about child safety rules and regulations. The public health departments also offer free car and booster seats to low-income families.

The health district, along with the Safe Kids Coalition and Ford Motor's Boost America, provides child safety seats for anyone who qualifies for the program.

Castle Valley residents who cannot afford a safety seat and need one, may contact the local health department for more information regarding the program.

Even children who are old enough to ride in a regular seat may not be large enough to be protected by the vehicle based safety restraints, therefore, the agency and the checkpoints ensure that motorists are aware of the fact.

Some guidelines that ensure that a child is riding safely in a motor vehicle are as follows:

•Place all youngsters weighing less than 80 pounds and shorter than four feet nine inches tall in child safety or booster seats.

•Read and follow all vehicle and safety seat instructions.

•Consumers should send in safety seat registration forms so they can be notified of any recalls.

•Tightly buckle safety seats into the back seat of vehicles.

•Make sure the harness is threaded correctly, is snug, and is at the correct shoulder location.

•Never place thick blankets, coats or padding between the child and the harness or back of a safety seat.

•Place all children younger than 1 year of age and less than 20 pounds in a rear-facing seat, at no more than a 45 degree recline. Install the child restraint device in the back seat of the vehicle.

•Place children older than age 1 yeat and at least 20 pounds in a forward-facing safety restraint device that is secured on the back seat of the vehicle.

•Use belt-positioning booster seats for children from about 40 to 80 pounds and up to four feet nine inches tall.

•Most safety seats require a chest retainer clip, which is placed at armpit level.

•The handle on infant seats must remain down while the vehicle is moving.

•Children 12 years and younger should always ride in the back seat.

•Utah law requires that all vehicle occupants ages 18 years and younger must be restrained in a seatbelt or child safety seat.

Questions regarding the general guidelines may be directed to the public health department offices and certified child safety seat checkers.

Research data has been proven that safety seats is a method of reducing death and injury in children. Yet 35 percent of children 4 years of age and younger continue to ride completely unrestrained. The misuse rate for safety seats has been estimated at 85 percent.

Eliminating safety seat misuse would lower deaths and injuries among safety seat users by 31 percent, according to the MCH agency for traffic safety partners.

Also according to MCH, research on the effectiveness of child safety seats has found the devices to reduce fatal injury by 69 percent for infants less than a year old and by 47 percent for toddlers 1 to 4 years old.


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