Busy parents rushing from home to work to the grocery store to retail outlets to the doctor’s office and all points in-between will assume they have correctly installed child safety seats for their precious little ones. This is not an issue that should involve assumption.
Car crashes can be deadly. Cleveland and Bradley County have their share; our roadways are no exception.
This is the importance of a program offered Thursday by the Bradley County Health Department as part of Child Passenger Safety Week — a thought-provoking initiative held in partnership with the Governor’s Highway Safety Office and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
It is a child safety seat check scheduled to run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the local health department facility on Dooley Street.
Cleveland and Bradley County parents, no matter how confident you are that your child’s safety seat is installed correctly, are encouraged to drop by for a check. This is especially important because health department officials spoke to staff writer Joyanna Weber in a recent edition about the complexities of so many new types of car safety seats that are flooding the market.
According to our Cleveland Daily Banner article published on the front page, “ ... with so many types of car seats, properly installing one can be really complicated.”
Your child’s life could depend on taking this action.
It will take only a few minutes. As an aside, the health department will be offering popcorn and children’s items during the event such as coloring books and safety booklets.
Safety is never a matter to be taken lightly, especially in the case of little ones who are defenseless and who depend on parents, guardians and caregivers for their well-being.
If you have any doubt in your mind about whether this drop-by is worthwhile, consider this sobering fact: The leading cause of child injury in accidents is children not being secured, properly, in their seats. This information comes to us from the health department’s Laura Moore, someone who is in the business of knowing, and understanding, these startling circumstances.
We are also told of other eye-openers that sometimes escape the attention of local motorists. One is this — in Tennessee, drivers can get a citation for not having a child properly secured in a car seat. In our state, children age 1 and younger who are less than 20 pounds are required to be in a rear-facing car seat; children more than 20 pounds between the ages of 1 and 3 must be in a forward-facing car seat. Children may move to a booster seat when they are 4.
Another telling fact: All children less than 4 feet 9 inches tall are required to be in a booster seat until they are 9 years old. Obviously, this is sometimes resisted by growing children who want to graduate from their boosters but who are still under the state minimum. In these cases, parents are urged to drop by the health department and allow professionals like Moore to explain to your children why these rules are critical to their safety.
On a related topic, we know child seats are not inexpensive. For parents who qualify, such as those who are WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program recipients, you are eligible for a free car seat. You may obtain information at the health department.
Our children’s lives are at stake.
That is reason enough to take a few minutes to drop by the health department and have your child safety seats inspected.