Minden Press-Herald

Thursday
Oct 02nd

Safety First

Sheriff_Bobby_Igo

Deputies certify in car seat installation

Webster Parish Sheriff's Office (WPSO) now has two certified technicians in the area of child safety seats, and Minden Medical Center is thankful for what that means for area families.

"Installing a car seat can certainly try a parent or grandparent's patience," said Donna Carter, Chief Nursing Officer at Minden Medical Center. "We have newborn parents ask on a regular basis if the seat is in properly.

"Having deputies that provide security at the hospital double as certified child passenger safety technicians will enable us to provide education prior to delivery for parents," Carter continued. "We appreciate Sheriff Sexton's commitment to the safety of the babies and children in our community by sending his officers to be trained and work with Minden Medical Center to educate parents on child seat safety."

Deputies Jeremy Utphall and Bobby Igo, III completed necessary training to become certified technicians and can now conduct seat inspections ensuring proper installation of a child's safety seat.

In addition, parents and caregivers will be provided with potential life-saving information regarding the appropriate seat for each child's age, weight and height.

According to statistics provided by Minden Medical Center, when properly installed and used, child seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for children younger than one and by 54 percent for children between one and four years old.

With an estimated misuse rate of three out of four seats, parents and caregivers are now able to have their car seat inspected by local certified technicians.

Dr. Amanda Williams, joined Carter in thanking WPSO for providing this service to the community.

"As providers of care to the mothers, I was concerned that we had no one in Minden or Webster Parish that could provide the education," Williams said. "I'm thankful for deputies, Jeremy Utphall and Bobby Igo, III who dedicated their time to become certified technicians and to Sheriff Sexton and Debbie Haynes for finding the certification program."

According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration some of the most common child safety seat installation mistakes are:

n Not using the right child safety seats for a child's size and age;

n Not placing the child safety seat in the correct direction;

n Incorrect installation of the child safety seat in relation to the vehicle's air bags;

n Incorrect installation and tightness of the child safety seat to the vehicle seat;

n Not securing/tightening the child safety seat's harness and crotch straps;

n Improper use of locking clips for certain vehicle safety belts;

n Not making sure the vehicle's seat belts fit properly across the child when using a booster seat; and

n Using a defective or broken child safety seat.

Minden Medical Center will be adding a child seat safety component to their OB Hospital Orientation, as well as providing flyers to The Women's Clinic and all the physician offices in Minden that treat pediatric patients.

Louisiana state law requires the following for children 13 and under:

n Babies under one year old and weighing less than 20 pounds must be secured in a rear-facing infant or convertible safety seat. Safety officials advise parents to install the child safety seat in the rear seat of a vehicle away from an active airbag.

n Children ages one to four and weighing between 20 and 40 pounds must be secured in a front-facing convertible or combination safety seat which uses an internal harness.

n Children ages four to six who weigh between 40 and 60 pounds must be secured in a front-facing belt-positioning booster seat.

n Children who are both over age 6 and over 60 pounds may continue to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat or may be restrained with a seat belt.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has additional information available regarding child safety seats on their website.

For more information, visit http://www.nhtsa.gov/ Safety/CPS.

Contact the Webster Parish Sheriff's Office at 377-1515 to make an appointment for safety seat inspection, which can be done at Minden Medical Center or at WPSO.

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