Buckle up your kids — correctly

Did you know Grafton has three police officers who are certified to inspect child car seat installations?

Any parent who has ever attempted to put a car seat in a backseat knows how ridiculously complicated the feat can be. Not all car seats are suitable for all cars and, frequently, you need to use rolled up towels or even pool noodles to get a decent fit. It took my engineering-trained husband hours to get our rear-facing infant seat in correctly the first time — and, I have to say, when I took the car to a seat checkpoint for a story several months later, the police officer admiringly said he very seldom saw that particular seat installed correctly!

If you have a child in a car seat, you’re in luck — a Child Passenger Safety Seat Inspection Checkpoint will be held at the Grafton Police Headquarters on Saturday, Sept. 20, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Three Grafton Police Officers are certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians and will be on hand to conduct inspections of Child Safety Seats and to provide information. Those attending are asked to bring owners manual for vehicle and the child safety seat to be inspected, child not required to be present.

Also, according to the police department’s Web site, the Grafton Police Department has received a $10,000 grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) to expand its child passenger safety efforts. The EOPSS awarded 67 of these grants totaling $660,773 to Massachusetts communities and organizations with a public purpose to reduce motor vehicle fatalities and injuries involving children.

Nationwide traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 to 14. The grants will be used primarily to purchase child safety seats for distribution to parents and caregivers in need.

“With this grant, the Grafton Police Department can better serve parents and caregivers who want to protect their children from death or injury by properly securing them in a safety belt, booster seat, or child safety seat,” said Chief Normand Crepeau. “We can also keep reminding adults that they must set a good example for kids by obeying the Massachusetts safety belt law and always buckling up themselves.”

In April 2008, Governor Deval Patrick signed Senate Bill 2018, dubbed the Booster Seat Bill, into law. This law went into effect on July 10. This enhancement of the Massachusetts Child Passenger Safety Law requires that all children riding in passenger motor vehicles must be in a federally approved child passenger restraint that is properly fastened and secured until they are 8 years old or over 57” tall. Once a child has outgrown their child seat they need to use a booster seat until they are 8 years old or over 57” tall.

Children 12 and under are safest when properly restrained in the back seat, ideally away from airbags.

The Massachusetts Child Passenger Safety Law is a primary enforcement law.
With minor exceptions, a police officer may stop a motor vehicle if a child is riding improperly restrained. A driver will be fined up to $25 for each improperly restrained child.

The press release also notes there is only a 69 percent seat belt usage rate in Massachusetts, despite the seat belt law.

I didn’t use a seat belt growing up and I was completely against the idea of it until I visited my first car crash. There were bodies, it seemed, all over the highway — some were ejected from the doors that didn’t stay shut as the cars rolled over, one person went through the windshield, the driver went partway through the windshield. It was nasty and bloody, and when the State Police trooper gave me a number that didn’t jibe with the number of tarp-covered lumps I was seeing, I asked him why.

“Do you wear a seat belt?” he asked. I admitted I didn’t. “Well if you get thrown out of a car, you don’t always stay in one piece.”

All together now: ewwww!


One thought on “Buckle up your kids — correctly

  1. Not to turn this blog into a commercial ad, but when our kids were of carseat size and age – we swore by a device called Mighty-Tite. It allowed us to easily get the car seats super tight very quickly, which was great if we needed to move the car seat from one car to another.

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