Safety First

Photo credit: St. John Ambulance 
Article by Sara Samson

In a car accident, a properly installed child safety seat can be the difference between life and death. 

Child safety car seats weren’t the law in Alberta until 1986. By 1995, 67 per cent of people were using the seats — but less than one per cent were using them correctly, says Kim Laing, director of regional development at St. John Ambulance Alberta. 

“If you talk to any police officer, firefighter, EMT or people who work in hospitals, you’ll hear that car seats are one of the greatest tools to prevent death,” says Laing. Yet, she says, estimates suggest there’s still only about 75 per cent compliance with restraints in Alberta, and there is a high rate of misuse. People know they should be using restraints, but may not know how to do so correctly. St. John Ambulance, an organization dedicated to safety, training and prevention, realized getting relevant and correct information out to parents and caregivers about the use of car seats was vital.  

In the fall of 2011, the Calgary Foundation gave St. John Ambulance Alberta a $12,000 community grant to renew out-of-date educational resources and to support two programs — the Child Restraint Technicians’ Program and the Car Seat Information Sessions. 

The technicians’ program provides people with training on technical details on child restraints, and how they work, and also explains crash dynamics.

The information sessions educate parents, grandparents and other caregivers on how to correctly install and use child safety seats, giving people the information they need to save lives.  

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