Oceanside Community Safety Volunteers partnered with Central Island Traffic, Oceanside RCMP, and the Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada (CPSAC) to assist beach-goers from all over the island with safely transporting their children to and from Rathtrevor last weekend.
The crew were able to assist 71 children under 9 - assuring some parents that they were already transporting their children in a safe and legal manner and assisting 59 other to get their children riding more safely. The team also spoke with 5 children 9 and over about seat belt safety.
"The goal of these checks is safety. No one left with a ticket and everyone left with safely restrained children." states Cpl. Michelle LeBrun, also a Child Passenger Safety Technician-Instructor with CPSAC.
Many families received assistance with installing car seat correctly. Some children were educated on the correct use of their booster seats. Some parents were sent to acquire new seats for their children while the rest of the family continued on to the beach. The team was also able to donate seats to a grateful family in need. Two car seats and four boosters were accepted for safe disposal.
The team had some great conversations with the families they saw.
Here's a brief Q&A:
Q "Booster seats expire?"
A "They sure do. Many people are aware that car seats expire, but booster seats do also."
Q "Do I really need the cover on the booster seat?"
A "Yes. The car seat manufacturers instructions require it, and the law in BC requires you to use child restraints as instructed."
Q "My child is 9. Does she still need a booster?"
A "Legally, a child can use the adult seat belt at age 9 OR 4'9" tall. However, the adult seat belt doesn't start fitting properly until 4'9" tall and later, and most 9 year olds are not that tall. Older kids are safer in whatever gets them a better seat belt fit."
Q "This is Canada. Shouldn't you be nicer?"
A "That's an interesting take on it. We think it's quite nice to skip issuing a $109 violation ticket and instead help you keep your child safe from serious injury or worse in the event of a car crash."
Q "Am I legally required to stop?"
A "When a uniformed police officer tells you to stop, yes, you are legally required to stop."
Q "This is awesome. How can I get this happening in my own town?"
A "Contact your local police station and request it! We have a team of volunteers who love to travel and instructors who want to share the skills with other officers. Look for us in the south island in a month."
Parents on Vancouver Island who want to be proactive can visit www.vicarseattechs.com/find-a-tech to find a certified technician in their area to assist them in getting their children riding safely in car seats and boosters.