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High-visibility child passenger safety enforcement campaign aims to save lives

By for CAES News

CONYERS – The University of Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute (GTIPI), supported by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, has teamed up with local law enforcement, public health officials, non-profit organizations, and other advocates to form the Child Passenger Safety Misuse Task Force.

The task force aims to combat traffic-related childhood injuries through a high-visibility information campaign that addresses improperly restrained children. The campaign will be followed by focused law enforcement, when citations may be issued for misuse.

Parents and caregivers in Rockdale County have free access to a number of local organizations that teach correct installation and use of car seats before the March enforcement begins.

When used properly, car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers in passenger cars, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Car seat, booster seat, and seat belt misuse rates vary from 74 percent to 90 percent, according to NHTSA.

“Car crashes are a leading killer of young children,” said Don Bower, GTIPI project director. “Parents want to transport their kids safely, but car seats and belt systems can be complicated. A quick check can identify and correct some serious misuse.”

Parents and caregivers seeking education from a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) should refer to the following agencies:

  • Conyers Police Department, 770-483-6600, by appointment
  • Rockdale County Fire and Rescue, 770-278-8422, by appointment
  • Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute, 678-413-4281, by appointment
  • Safe Seats 4 Kids—Newton Medical Center, 770-385-4396, contact Missy Braden
  • Rockdale County Health Department, 770-785-4345, monthly classes offered for families demonstrating financial need

During the checkup, a CPST will fill out a checklist addressing selection, position, installation, harnessing, expiration, and potential recalls for the car seat. This one-to-one education typically takes 20-30 minutes and will help ensure the caregiver is comfortable using the seat correctly.

For more information about child passenger safety, visit www.safercar.gov/parents.

To learn the specifics of Georgia’s child restraint law, check www.ridesafegeorgia.org or www.gahighwaysafety.org.

Karen Daily is a student intern with the Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute.
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