by Carla Saavedra-Santiago
efforts to better protect child passengers in cars, motor
vehicle crashes remain the number one cause of accidental
injury-related death among children ages 14 and under. In 2003,
motor vehicle crashes claimed the lives of more than 1,500 child
passengers and resulted in an estimated 220,000 injuries.
Community Health Programs (CHP) and the Ohio Buckles Buckeyes
Program are joining forces during Child Passenger Safety Week,
February 11–17, to educate parents on the steps they need to
take to prevent the injury, or save the lives, of their
“Parents need to
know how to safely secure their children in their cars,” says
Mary McPherson, R.N., nurse coordinator of CHP’s car seat
unrestrained or not properly restrained is the greatest risk
factor for death and injury among child occupants of motor
vehicles, and only 19 percent of children older than four years
old and 40 pounds or more are properly secured in
belt-positioning booster seats.
In Ohio, children
between the ages of four and eight years old are the most likely
victims because the law does not require them to be in any kind
of restraint system other than an adult seat belt. They are at
risk because adult seat belts do not afford them adequate
safety. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA), a child should be in a booster seat
until he or she is at least 4'9", 80 lbs., or eight years old.
The NHTSA also suggests that children remain in the backseat
until they’re 12 because of a possibly fatal airbag deployment.
CHP and the Ohio
Buckles Buckeyes Program hold car seat installation classes
every other month at the Albany Fire Department. The Ohio
Buckles Buckeyes Program provides booster seats to low-income
families for a nominal fee of five dollars, says McPherson.
In the class,
parents are shown a video on the importance of child passenger
safety seats including booster seats, proper fitting and
installation techniques and are apprised of the Ohio car seat
law. The seat then is installed by a certified technician.
year, Consumer Reports released its infant car-seat test
report, which stated that all 11 car seats tested failed its
side and front-impact tests. After the NHTSA reviewed the
magazine’s testing procedures, it found that the tests were
being conducted at 70 mph, almost twice as fast as the magazine
initially had claimed. Consumer Reports withdrew their
claim Jan. 18, after the NHTSA tested all the car seats under
the 38.5 mph conditions that the magazine had stated. It found
that all 11 passed, McPherson says.
“We just want to
make parents aware that the Consumer Reports’ tests
weren’t very controlled.”
Parents may call
McPherson for information on how to keep children safe in their
car seats. SafeKids USA also has a child passenger safety
section on its Web site,
Julie Garner, a
staff member at Health Recovery Services, Division of Community
Services, also is available for information and installation
needs, she says.
“Julie is a great
asset to the Ohio Buckles Buckeyes Program in the Athens area,”
McPherson says. “She has a passion for car seat safety and is a
wonderful resource person as well as being a certified car seat
An important, but
sometimes neglected, simple step in securing the safety of their
children is for parents to set a good example, McPherson says.
“Always buckle up
all the time no matter where you go, even if you’re just going
down the street.”
McPherson can be
contacted at (740) 593-2481. Garner can be contacted at (740)
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News for the week of Jan 29 – Feb 3
News for the week of Jan 22 – Jan 27
News for the week of Jan 15 – Jan 20