The Harrisonburg Fire Department helps 800 parents and grandparents install child safety seats in their cars each year. However, the number of seats that either need to be properly installed or inspected for proper installation is much higher.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports eight out of ten car safety seats are not used properly. Because of this need, Rockingham Memorial Hospital and the city of Harrisonburg teamed up with WHSV-TV3 to create a Child Safety Alliance. This alliance provided funding to hire a full-time Child Safety Seat Technician, for which each organization is providing one-third of the costs.
“While the primary focus for this position is the proper installation and use of child safety seats, the position will also focus on any child safety issues that threatens the health and safety of our children,” says Harrisonburg Fire Chief Larry Shifflett.
“As a ‘Children First’ station, we saw a very concrete need that the fire department wasn’t able to meet,” says Tracey Jones, Vice President and General Manager of WHSV-TV3. “Out of all the opportunities out there that we can contribute to, this was the best way to make a difference.”
Cindy Reeves, Coordinator of Health Education and Awareness at the RMH Community Health and co-leader of Safe Kids of the Central Shenandoah Valley, adds, “RMH is committed to improving the health of the community. Even though automobile accidents remain the leading cause of accidental death for children, the use of child passenger seats has significantly reduced child deaths due to car accidents. RMH supports the Child Passenger Seat initiative because it will enhance safety for children traveling in cars.”
The Harrisonburg Fire Department is pleased to announce the addition of Cathy Stewart, who will assume the duties of the brand new technician position. The position was created to address the number of parents and grandparents who come to the City fire stations to have their child safety seats installed or inspected.
The Safety Seat Technician will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at Fire Station #1 located at 80 Maryland Avenue in Harrisonburg. Other hours are available by appointment. The service is open and available to anyone. For more information call Cathy Stewart at 540-810-0527.