By Alexandria Eady
Hamilton County is hoping to promote safe travel for children this summer through free car seat education sessions and safety checks offered by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.
With increasing rates of motor vehicle accidents involving infants and children over the years, the HCSO is continuing an initiative to combat the issue and bring awareness to the community.
HCSO said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that a child under the age of 13 is involved in a car crash every 34 seconds in the United States. Another NHTSA study shows that more than 70 percent of car seats are not used correctly.
“The number one goal of this program is to increase the safety of children riding in vehicles.” said Major Tom Gehlhausen, an officer of the HCSO and close partner of the program.
Started in 2005, this free education program is open to the public and allows individuals to learn from certified car seat technicians about child seat safety and proper installation.
“Through investigation of motor vehicle accidents over the years past, we noticed several children were being injured by not being properly fastened in a car seat,” Gehlhausen said. “We started sending staff through the Safe Kids Worldwide technician program in an effort to educate our community and have a place for our citizens to go to insure their child’s car seat is installed properly.”
These education sessions are available by appointment by calling 773-1872, and take place in the HCSO parking lot at 18100 Cumberland Rd. in Noblesville.
In these 45-minute sessions, members of the community can ask questions about their child’s car seat and also run an inspection for proper installation.
According to Gehlhausen, 20 inspections were conducted in 2014, often consisting of new parents who want to insure the safety of their child in motor vehicle travel.
“The best car seat is defined as one that fits the child, fits the vehicle and will be used and installed correctly each and every time,” Gehlhausen said.