Tripler, USAG-HI communities join forces

| March 30, 2012 | 0 Comments
Joanne Niwa (left), Queens Medical Center, and Spc. Moises Guitang, practical nurse, Mother Baby Unit, Tripler Army Medical Center, look up possible recall information and specific installation instructions for the Farr family’s new car seat at a car seat safety check, at Schofield Barracks, March 17.

Joanne Niwa (left), Queens Medical Center, and Spc. Moises Guitang, practical nurse, Mother Baby Unit, Tripler Army Medical Center, look up possible recall information and specific installation instructions for the Farr family’s new car seat at a car seat safety check, at Schofield Barracks, March 17.

Story and Photo by
Stephanie Rush
Pacific Regional Medical Command Public Affairs

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Thirty-three of the youngest members of the military ohana on Oahu are riding a little bit more safely after their parents had their car seats checked out, here, March 17.

The car seat safety check was sponsored by Tripler Army Medical Center’s Pediatrics Department, Schofield Barracks’ Military Police, Directorate of Emergency Services, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii; and the Keiki Injury Prevention Coalition, or KIPC, a statewide community-based organization committed to preventing and reducing injuries to children in Hawaii.

Aimed at expectant parents and parents with young infants, toddlers, preschoolers or school-age children, anyone attending left not only with their car seat inspected and properly installed, but also with resources and tips for keeping children safe as passengers in motor vehicles. Volunteers, ranging from police officers to health care professionals to parents who wanted to help educate others on car safety, were on hand to answer questions and help parents understand their particular car seat and how it best works within their car.

“We just bought a new car seat because our son, Aspen, is getting too big for his current one,” explained new mother Kendi Farr. “We didn’t want to install it incorrectly.”

Kendi and her husband, Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Farr, Naval Information Operations Command-Hawaii, knew just who to turn to for assistance with installing Aspen’s new car seat.

Eight months ago, shortly before Aspen was born, Cindy Sanekane, pediatric physical therapist at TAMC’s Developmental Pediatrics department, showed the Farrs how to install their first car seat.

Sanekane has been a licensed child passenger safety technician for 11 years and is the primary point of contact for the car seat fitting station at Tripler, through the Department of Pediatrics. According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, research has found child safety seats reduce fatal injuries by 71 percent for infants (younger than 1 year of age) and by 54 percent for toddlers (1-4 years of age) in passenger cars involved in accidents.

However, if the car seat isn’t installed correctly or parents don’t know how to use them properly, it can all be for naught.

“I thought, ‘I’m not an expert,’” Kendi said. “I’d rather have trained people showing us how to use the car seat.”

According to Sanekane, approximately 72.6 percent of car seats are not installed properly or misused, which can potentially lead to critical injuries in the event of a motor vehicle crash.

“Community education is the primary purpose of the car seat check events,” Sanekane explained. “We want to educate families on how to safely transport their children.“

The first mandatory child restraint use law was implemented in Tennessee in 1978. Since 1985, all 50 States and the District of Columbia have had child restraint use laws in effect.

“Military police and gate guards frequently observe child seat safety issues while at the gate and while patrolling,” said Patrick Rodrigues, community relations officer, Provost Marshal Office, DES. “The most common issues are children not fastened in properly, children out of their car seats or children secured in the car seat positioned in the front of the vehicle when there is a seat available in the rear.”

DES participates in outreach events for the safety of the general public and to reduce, hopefully, the number of injuries sustained during car accidents.

Holding community events around the island makes it easier for parents to get their car seat checked out in a location that’s more convenient for them. DES hopes to schedule a similar car seat safety check at Fort Shafter for the convenience of families living in the south region.

“Community events occur throughout the year, sponsored by KIPC and the various other hospitals and organizations that are also car seat fitting stations,” Sanekane said. “These community events occur all over Oahu from Waianae to Honolulu to Kailua-Kaneohe. Families can access the schedule through the KIPC website.

“If families cannot access appointments at TAMC in a timely manner, they can call any of the other car seat fitting stations on the KIPC website (http://kipchawaii.org/the-coalition/car-seat-safety/inspection-stations/) to schedule appointments.

Selecting car seats

Parents should follow National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advice when selecting child safety seats.

•Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size, and choose a seat that fits in your vehicle and use it every time.

•Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions; read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, or LATCH, system. Also, check height and weight limits.

•To maximize safety, keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.

•Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.

(Editor’s Note: Car seat recommendations for children are courtesy of the NHTSA.)

Child safety seats

View more photos from the car seat check at www.flickr.com/TriplerAMC.

•Visit www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS  or www.facebook.com/childpassengersafety.

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Category: Community, Health, Safety

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