It seems that time is valuable and the most lacking in American lives today. You hear the saying “if I only had an extra hour in the day, I could get more done.” After raising my own children and looking back at life, I realized that I lead my life the same way. I never took the time to slow down. We were always in a rush. As a car seat technician and office manager for a local health department, I see numerous families throughout the day following the same footsteps. The thing many of us forget is the safety for children in a vehicle. There are some families who make child passenger safety a priority in their lives, but statistically they are the minority. As a mother and a car seat technician, I would like to give advice to those who haven’t taken time for passenger safety.
When transporting your child, NEVER have the attitude that “nothing will ever happen to me.” An individual can be the most careful driver, but that doesn’t protect them from that one life altering time. It could be a careless driver, a drunk driver or even a good driver that made the wrong decision at the moment that caused injury or death. Treat each trip with importance, whether you are going one block or one mile. The safety of your child and yourself is imperative. No rush. Your child’s life is way more important.
One lesson I have learned is to be a good role model. Set a good example for your children. Wear a seat belt every time and drive with care. Your children are always watching and learning from you. If you show that you care about their/your safety, they will grow up following the same life-saving habits. The best way to protect them in the vehicle is to put them in the correct seat and use it properly every time. Follow the car seat instructions and vehicle manual for proper installation. Have a certified car seat technician show you how to install your seat. It only takes a few minutes and it could possibly save your child’s life.
As a car seat technician for over five years, I have witnessed parents who have lost their child due to improper or no installation of a car seat. There is no way for them to turn back time.
My only hope is that this opportunity to express to parents my experiences will save them from exposure to a permanent life altering event such as death or injury. For more information about car seat installation and finding the nearest car seat fitting station, go to www.nhtsa.gov or www.ktsro.org. You can also call the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office at 1-800-416-2522.
Penny Otter is with the Norton County Health Department