For Immediate Release: September 26, 2018

Contact: Barry Smith at 919-807-6011

Duke ER doctor, state officials urge proper use of child safety seats, belts

Despite busy lifestyles, taking time to secure children is a key to their safety

RALEIGH -- A pediatric emergency room doctor from Duke University Medical Center and state officials appealed to parents, grandparents and child care-givers to make sure children are properly restrained when they get into a car.

“First and foremost, it keeps the child from being ejected from the vehicle,” Dr. Emily sSterrett said during a press conference held at Excelsior Classical Academy. “The belts or straps from the car seat slow down the energy of the collision and really distribute the force of the accident over the boney skeleton of the body, making chance of injury to the more life-threatening organs much less.”

Dr. Sterrett spoke at the press conference with Chief State Fire Marshal Brian Taylor and Governor’s Highway Safety Program Director Mark Ezzell. The three emphasized the importance of taking proper safety measures even in a busy environment, such as the areas where parents pick up their children from school.

Car safety seats serve a couple of important functions, Dr. Sterrett said.

Taylor said he has seen what happens when children aren’t safely restrained in their cars.

“I have seen first-hand the tragic outcomes from not having children property restrained in a vehicle,” Taylor said. “With more grandparents and relatives helping out today’s families, it is important to bring attention to making sure children are properly restrained when they leave the carpool line from school.”

Taylor continued. “To keep the carpool line moving efficiently, many children are placed in the front seat of the vehicle or not restrained when the vehicle pulls off,” Taylor said. “This not a safe practice. We are here to encourage parents and grandparents to take a moment and make sure your child is properly restrained before pulling off.”

Ezzell linked the importance of taking proper safety measures to the recent effects of Hurricane Florence, and encouraged North Carolinians not to drive through standing water on roadways.

“In the wake of Hurricane Florence, we are reminded of how dangerous poor driving decisions can be, particularly to children,” Ezzell said. “We urge drivers to make sure kids are safely secured in fully approved car seats, and that parents practice safe driving especially when children are passengers in the car.”

The press conference coincides with Child Passenger Safety Week, proclaimed by Gov. Roy Cooper, for the week of Sept. 24-28.

Taylor also reminded parents to make sure their car seats are installed properly.

Parents can go to buckleupnc.org to find out permanent child seat checking stations near them.

The event was cosponsored by Safe Kids North Carolina and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. Following the press conference, a car seat clinic was held in the school’s parking lot so parents could make sure their seats are installed properly.

Safe Kids North Carolina is dedicated to preventing childhood injury, the number one cause of death for children in North Carolina. For more information, contact coordinator Shannon Bullock at 919.647.0081 or Shannon.Bullock@ncdoi.gov.

--NC OSFM--