As millions of Americans are hitting the road for the holidays, public safety and law enforcement officials are buckling down on efforts to get drivers and passengers to be safely restrained.
The Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute conducted a training course last week for local law enforcement, public utilities and other public safety personnel, including two members of the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office traffic enforcement unit. What they learned was how to install child safety seats and how to properly place kids in those seats.
“They will have the skills to put the child seats in right,” said Andrew Turnage, child passenger safety program coordinator of the Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute. “They are going to be able to provide accurate information.”
Motor vehicle accidents remain one of the top killers for people in the U.S., and it is the leading cause of death for those ages 3-33, Turnage said. He said what they want adults to understand is how important it is to have everyone in their vehicle properly restrained.
“Most people are already aware that the Thanksgiving holiday is the most dangerous on the road,” he said.
Tina Brower of Guyton was at the class’ finale at the Pooler Home Depot, getting the car seat for infant son installed properly. She works in environmental health and safety at Gulfstream.
“It’s very important to me,” she said. “I do a lot of talks to my people about car seat safety and I wanted to make sure I was up to date on everything. You never can tell.”
Turnage said there is some education that needs to be done for families who aren’t aware of the recent changes in the child safety seat laws.
“We often say we can’t legislate safety,” he said. “The spirit of it is to keep them in a restraint or a booster seat until they are 4-foot-9, and most children aren’t 4-9 until they are 10 or 11 years old. The focus is to be helping parents install the seats.”
Sgt. Brian Mundy, commander of the ECSO’s traffic enforcement unit, said he learned a lot in taking the class and he enjoyed it.
“It’s very important,” he said. “I learned a lot, a whole lot.”
Mundy and Cpl. Jamie Thompson were the first two members of the ECSO traffic team to go through the training. The other two will go through training early next year, and Mundy said there also will be two child seat safety trained technicians at the health department.
Drivers who want their child safety seats installed correctly and be instructed on how to properly secure their children in them can call the ECSO to set up an appointment.
“They can call and ask for a technician and make an appointment and in 20 minutes have their child safety seat installed,” Turnage said. “Our Web site has great resources and links to find a technician.”
For more information, visit ridesafegeorgia.com.