TORONTO — A local insurance agent and ambulance service are teaming up on Saturday to make sure children are well protected in the event of a car accident.
State Farm insurance agent Toni Moreland and the TEMS Joint Ambulance District will host a car seat safety inspection event on Saturday, with a number of free car seats donated through a State grant Farm.
Ambulance Service Manager Clark Crago said TEMS Ambulance Captain Jeremiah Lucas and other trained volunteers will be outside Moreland’s office at Gem City Plaza on Franklin Street from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to check seats. of car.
Over the years, the ambulance service has offered car seat inspections by appointment and free car seats to low-income families through the Ohio Buckles Buckeyes program, but support from State Farm will allow it to provide additional car seats to families outside of income guidelines. .
“State Farm has been a really good neighbor,” said Crago, who noted that the insurance company had provided $3,000 in recent years for such efforts.
Moreland said an inspection event was scheduled for Toronto in 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic.
She said attendees should come in the vehicle they normally transport their child in and with the child in the appropriate car seat.
She said the idea is that Lucas and others will be able to show parents and carers how to properly fit the seats themselves, when needed, and secure their children in the way that will best protect them from injury. .
“But we will not refuse those who come without their children”, said Crago, who has added staff and volunteers who will determine if the seats have expired or been recalled or damaged.
He said it’s not always easy to tell when a seat has been damaged and that’s why he advises against buying used ones.
The United States Centers for Disease Control reported that in 2020, 607 children 12 and under were killed and more than 63,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents in the United States and of these, 38 % were not properly attached.
The American Society for Positive Care of Children has estimated that a child’s risk of catastrophic injury or death in such crashes is reduced by 70% when car seats are used correctly.
“Usually a car seat works wonders in a car accident,” Crago agreed.
Moreland noted that state law and parental wisdom dictate that children use not one, but three forms of car seats as they grow.
For example, rear-facing car seats are typically used for children under the age of one, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that children continue to use them until age 3. they always fit well.
These seats are equipped with a harness strap and cradle designed to protect the child’s neck and spine.
When a child has outgrown a rear-facing seat, usually between the ages of 4 and 7, they should move to a forward-facing seat, which has a much larger tether strap system safer than a standard seat belt for young children.
For children 8-12 years old or those who have exceeded the recommended weight and height limits for a forward-facing seat, a booster seat is recommended as it provides the extra height needed to ensure that the vehicle seat belt fits them properly.
The Ohio Department of Health reports that the leading cause of death among children in the state, ages 4 to 7, is car crashes, and Ohio ranks among the lowest for the use of booster seats.
State Farm officials recommend that parents and guardians install car seats themselves by following the instructions that come with them as well as their vehicle’s manual, as the mechanisms for them vary.
Additionally, they advise always installing car seats in the back seat, which is normally the safest area in the event of an accident.
Once a seat has been installed according to the instructions, it should be rocked side to side and back and forth to ensure that it will not move more than an inch in any way. any direction.
Rear-facing seats should be on a level base to prevent a child’s head from tipping forward.
When using a rear-facing or forward-facing child car seat, any bulky clothing should be removed from the child and the child’s back should be placed against the seat without arch or sag.
All straps should lie flat against the child with no twists or knots and should be snug but not too tight.
The chest clip should be level with the child’s armpits and the shoulder straps should be at or directly below the child’s shoulders.
Crago said of the event, “We want citizens to benefit from this program. It is important to ensure the safety of our future leaders.
He added that those unable to attend on Saturday could arrange for a TEMS station inspection by calling (740) 537-3891.