Fifteen children's lives are safer, thanks to a Car Seat Safety Event in June at East Central University's Child Development Center.
Car seats supplied by Smart Start South Central were available to all parents at the center as long as they participated in a car seat safety check by local technicians trained by OK SafeKids. Ten new car seats were installed in parents' cars, and five more were checked and found to be adequate.
Car seat safety technician Joy Burris (right) explains her checksheet to parent Jade Barnes at a Car Seat Safety Event at East Central University's Child Development Center. Smart Start South Central plans to host more car seat events to ensure the safety of local children.
In addition to checking the seats, technicians show parents how to install seats for safety as well as tips on how to buckle their children correctly.
"Many parents don't realize that car seats expire after a certain length of time, or that buckling a child into the wrong size car seat can mean the difference between life and death," said Trish Little, coordinator for Smart Start South Central.
Smart Start South Central will host more car seat events throughout the year in hopes of reaching other parents of young children, she said.
"We started with the ECU Child Development Center because our office is right next door," Little explained. "Any parent regardless of income can come to these events and have their car seats checked, and then replaced if there is a problem with the car seat. The only stipulation is that the child be present so the technician can fit the seat to the child who will be using it."
Four technicians helped with the event: Joy Burris, Ginger Dunn and Cheryl Willis with the Chickasaw Nation, and Betty Weber, Pontotoc County Health Department. Three VISTA workers affiliated with the Ada Regional United Way office also helped, as well as other volunteers from the health department and ECU's Child Care Resource and Referral Agency.
Smart Start South Central is an early childhood initiative housed in ECU's Center for Continuing Education and Community Services. For more information about this event and others like it, contact Trish Little at 580-559-5367 or Cindy Byrd at 580-559-5872.
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