NEW ORLEANS — Every September, Louisiana’s team of highway safety professionals led by the Louisiana Passenger Safety Task Force (LPSTF) supports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in conducting the Child Passenger Safety Week (September 17-23, 2023) in an effort to promote the safety of kids being buckled up correctly inside the vehicle.
For the first time, the New Orleans Filipino American Lions Club (NOFALC) is partnering up with the LPSTF to help in spreading child passenger safety awareness and rendering volunteer hours at the National Seat Check Saturday event on September 23, 2023, from 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon at the Divine Mercy Church located at 4337 Sal Lentini Pkwy in Kenner, LA 70065
During the seat check, the LPSTF’s team of certified passenger safety technicians will educate parents and caregivers from underrepresented populations such as the Filipino communities in the area. They will check if their children are in the right seat for their age and size. Also, they will ensure that car seats are installed properly and explain the importance of registering car seats with the manufacturer so that you can be notified if there is a recall.
People check their tire pressure and change the oil in their vehicles, but neglect to check the equipment that’s meant to protect their kids in a crash. “Parents should not wait for a crash to happen to find out if your child’s seat is installed correctly. At that point, it’s going to be too late.
I invite all families with kids to come see us on September 23. Find out if your car seats are right for your children. In that way, you can take every road trip with a peace of mind. Parents should not forget to buckle up all the time as well,“ reminds LPSTF Program Director Bridget Gardner, who is also the Injury Prevention Program Coordinator of University Medical Center Level 1 Trauma Center in New Orleans.
The LPSTF is an injury prevention special interest group run by the University Medical Center New Orleans Trauma Program. It is a network of law enforcement, health and safety professionals who have undergone training to become certified child passenger safety technicians. They provide free education to correct the installation of child restraints, encourage child safety seat, and seat belt usage in motor vehicles, and provide resources to technicians and the community to reduce injuries and deaths from motor vehicle crashes.
Gardner emphasized that using age- and size-appropriate car seats and installing them correctly are the best ways to reduce crash fatalities among children. According to NHTSA, more than a third of children 12 and younger who died in crashes in 2021 in cars, pickups, vans, and SUVs were unbuckled. “Number one rule: Never let your children ride unbuckled — not even on a short trip.”
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children, and the latest research from NHTSA shows that 46% of car seats are misused. Common issues are children being in the wrong type of car seat for their age and size, and car seats being installed improperly — both of which leave children vulnerable to injury in a crash. Sadly, two children under 13 were killed every day in 2021 while riding in vehicles, and another estimated 318 were injured.
“Community service is at the heart of every Lions club. As Lions, we share our time and energy in programs that impact the safety and wellbeing of families and communities. We find child passenger safety to be a life-saving campaign, which is why we did not hesitate to partner up with Bridget Gardner and her team of passenger safety technicians that form the Louisiana Passenger Safety Task Force. We want to be part of their cause as well,” reveals NOFALC President Rommel Dorado.
“As a parent, I’m conscious about my kid being buckled up properly. It stems out from me being a former highway safety coalition coordinator in Houma which made me become a big safety advocate,” relates NOFALC Public Relations Director Rudynah Capone, who now works as a transportation communications and outreach professional at Louisiana Transportation Research Center, which is under the College of Interdisciplinary Engineering at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
Visit LPSTF on Facebook: Buckle Up Louisiana
Visit NOFALC on Facebook: New Orleans Filipino American Lions Club