GREENEVILLE, TN – As part of Child Passenger Safety Week, Takoma Adventist Hospital will launch a new program this month to conduct free car seat safety checks.
Called “Takoma Safe Ride,” the program will begin on Friday, Feb. 18, at the hospital’s Emergency Center. The event is being held in conjunction with National Child Passenger Safety Week, February 13-19.
Takoma will become a permanent “safety seat check station,” according to Jason Sanders, director of the hospital’s ER. Sanders, who is certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as a child passenger safety technician, will conduct the checks.
“We’ll offer this service on the third Friday of every month between the hours of 7 a.m. and noon,” Sanders said. “Concerned parents can call the ER at 636-2360 to schedule an appointment.”
The in-depth checks take about 20 minutes per car seat, he noted. “We check the obvious things, such as the condition of the car seat and the placement in the car, as well as some things parents might not think of,” he said.
Children are encouraged to be present during the checks, Sanders noted. “We want to be able to see how they actually fit in the seats,” he said.
Children under the age of 4 are required by state law to be in proper child restraint seats. As of July 2004, all children 4-8 and those shorter than five feet tall, regardless of weight, must be in a belt-positioned booster seat when riding in a vehicle.
“There are more than 600 combinations for installing a child passenger safety seat,” Sanders noted. “Installation can be intimidating and confusing.”
On the average, four out of five car seats are improperly installed, Sanders said. “Our goal is for every child to leave safer than when they arrived,” he said. “And, we want parents or caregivers to leave with the knowledge or skills to use and install their our child restraint system in the future.”
Riding unrestrained is the single greatest risk factor for death and injury among child motor vehicle occupants, Sanders said. If properly installed, child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for children ages 1 to 4, he said.
“It also reduces the need for hospitalization by 69 percent for children ages 4 and under,” Sanders said.
If the car seat is determined to be damaged, or disqualified by NTSHA recommendations, new car seats will be provided to those who qualify, Sanders said. “We don’t want children leaving the Car Seat Safety Check Station in an unsafe seat,” he said.
The hospital also has some car seats they can temporarily loan. “They can use ours until they can get to the store,” Sanders said.
For more information, please call Takoma Adventist Hospital’s Emergency Center at 636-2360.