Saturday, October 23, 2004

Program shows car seat safety

Nurse: Most installed wrong

By Andrea Remke
Enquirer staff writer

FLORENCE - Chances are if you have a child safety seat in your car, it's not installed correctly - and that could mean it's not safe.

The city of Florence gave drivers an opportunity to fix that Friday. Child safety seat checks were offered free to the public at the firehouse..

A training program offered through the Governor's Highway Safety Office gave police and fire personnel the skills to identify whether child safety seats are properly installed.

Members of the Florence Police Department along with Fort Mitchell, Elsmere, Independence and Ludlow took part in the 32-hour training class this week, which was taught by Sharon Rengers, a registered nurse.

Rengers, who has taught the class for six years, said about 98 percent of drivers are using child car seats incorrectly.

"In car crashes, if the seat flies out the window, obviously a child will be hurt," she said. "Sometimes babies are restrained, but then not the other children in the car," Rengers said.

"This is going to be a huge benefit to community - having officers trained on this."

Lori MacIntire, spokeswoman for the Governor's Highway Safety Office, said car seats are usually too loose, not in the right spot, or not adjusted correctly.

Rengers said the class also includes nurses, clerks or other community members.

"(People) are usually more interested if they have children of their own," she said.

"It makes them more aware of how important it is to have kids buckled in," she said.

Ben Wilson took part in the class as a representative from the Kenton County Police Department. He said this training has helped him personally.

"I found out at least one of my own two children's car seats was in wrong," he said.

Wilson said the class learned most people have at least three errors with how their car seat is installed.

"Either the child doesn't fit in the seat, the seat belt is improperly installed or the harness is too loose," he said.

Rachel Latz, of Florence, said she was driving by and stopped because she had never had the seat she has for her 2-year-old son, Sam, checked.

"I found out he's too big for the seat he's in," she said.

MacIntire said although police cannot stop a vehicle if the driver is not wearing a seat belt, they can pull someone over if a child is not restrained.

According to Kentucky State Police, any person who violates the provisions of Kentucky's Child Restraint Law will be fined $50 and pay an additional fee of $10, to be deposited in the Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund.

Rengers said this offering is beneficial to the community.

"It makes a huge impact to decrease fatalities."


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