Car seat safety event helps families

Jamie Hampel (left) looks over her child’s seat with the assistance of Lew Moquin, a certified child passenger safety instructor, during the car seat safety check Thursday afternoon at the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety. (Pioneer photo/Candy Allan)

BIG RAPIDS — The vehicle bay of the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety became more of a safety center on Thursday afternoon during a free car seat safety check event.

A collaborative effort among DPS, Spectrum Health and Mecosta-Osceola Great Start provided the event for area families to come and make sure their child’s seat was in safe condition and installed properly.

Once each vehicle was parked in one of eight inspection bays, volunteers worked with the parents to make sure they understood the best seat for their child and how to best install it. Meanwhile, firefighters gave youngsters a look at the fire engines and let them spray water from a fire house to “put out” the flames in a small wooden house.

Meadow Jamison buckles her son, Titan Jamison, 2, into his car seat during the car seat safety check Thursday afternoon at the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety. (Pioneer photo/Candy Allan)

Forty children were registered for the safety check, which also was open to drive-in clients, said Jennifer Hoekstra, injury prevention specialist with Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Approximately 30 minutes per child are needed to ensure car seats are installed properly, she noted.

Hoekstra was in charge of the safety check and the training which preceded it for area professionals to be certified to perform the service for families.

“It’s really important parents understand the best way for their children to travel,” Hoekstra said. “Many times, parents don’t realize how difficult car seats can be. Now, they have an amazing resource in their community and I encourage all parents to reach out and find the safest way for their child to travel.”

As each family finished with their car seats and exited, another would pull into the bay.

“Safety is important and children can’t make sure they’re safe,” said Meadow Jamison, who attended to be sure her three young children were secured properly. “It’s your priority as an adult to make sure they’re safe.”

Though the process was “a little daunting” at first, Jamison said it went well and encouraged other parents to attend similar events. Future car seat checks will be listed on the Great Start Collaborative website, mogreatstart.org.

Captain Jamison, age 5, plays firefighter by aiming the fire hose at the “flames” in the windows of a “burning house.” While their parents made sure car seats were installed correctly, firefighters and other volunteers amused the children during the car seat safety check Thursday afternoon at the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety. (Pioneer photo/Candy Allan)

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Posted by Candy Allan

Candy is the Pioneer's associate editor. She also coordinates the Family & Friends, Religion and Parenting pages. She can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8386 or by e-mail at callan@pioneergroup.com.

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