Safe Community Wood Buffalo adopts car seat safety initiative
SCWB’s goal is to continue educating the community on car seat safety and to prevent severe injuries from improper car seat installation and misuse through the existing program.
“Buckle Up Wood Buffalo has existed in our community for a while now on the shoulders of passionate volunteer technicians,” said Lesley Pearcey, Childhood Injury Prevention Coordinator of SCWB.
According to SCWB, Buckle Up Wood Buffalo is a network of certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians who work to help local families keep their children safe while riding in a motorized vehicle.
“All of us have always worked together with the same goal of increasing child passenger safety awareness, and now we can have an even greater impact within our region,” Pearcey said.
On November 10, SCWB will be hosting a community event at Summit GM in Gregoire from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and welcomes all residents and their families to take part.
“We have a new logo and swag,” she said. “We are excited to launch this forward in our community with hopes to build off the momentum and see increased use of inspections and resources we offer, as well as increase the number of volunteer techs who join the cause.”
Car Seat Safety Check Stops
Throughout the year, SCWB partners with the local RCMP to hold involuntary car seat check stops. Vehicle inspections are conducted to ensure car seats and booster seats are being used properly.
“The purpose of these stops is to educate,” Pearcey explains. “Most of the people we see are people who would not otherwise inquire about an inspection and would have the greatest need for information.”
In July 2017, 97% of the 30 vehicles inspected in three hours were non-compliant. In March 2018, another check stop was set up in a different location, and 71% of the seats were non-compliant.
“Parents and caregivers never intentionally put their children in danger,” said Pearcey. “We really believe the information we give saves lives. We may never know exactly how many lives or injuries, we prevent by doing what we do, but, we know when a child is secured properly they have a much better chance.”
In the Province of Alberta, adults must wear a seat belt at all times and children under six years old (or under 40 lbs.) must ride in a car seat. The fine for not wearing a seat belt or not using a safety seat is $155. The fine for not wearing a seat belt (or not using a safety seat) is $155. A motorist can receive multiple fines per car seat during check stops.
When drivers have been issued a fine at a car seat check stop, they will have the opportunity to have fines waived through a two-hour car seat safety information session provided by SCWB and St. John Ambulance.
“This session is open to the community and we partner with RCMP to offer ticket redemption,” said Pearcey. “Anyone who has been issued a ticket can attend, and I have the paperwork to ensure fines are waived. When tickets are issued it is to encourage people to attend and receive the proper information.”
The Buckle Up Wood Buffalo initiative has been a success in the community thanks to local organizations and volunteers for their commitment to child passenger safety including Child Development Day Homes, The Hub Family Resource Centre, Regional Emergency Services, Wood Buffalo RCMP, Angie LeBlanc-Lee and Mikayla Labelle.