Child Passenger Safety Week kicks off Monday
The DPS Office of Highway Safety will join the national campaign to recognize Child Passenger Safety Week which kicks off next Monday, Sept. 15 and culminates on Saturday, Sept. 21 with a fitting station set to be held at the OMV compound in Tafuna from 9 a.m. — 12 noon.
OHS Occupant Safety Program manager David Bird encourages all parents to remember the safest place in a moving vehicle for a child is in a properly fitted and secured car seat.
Next Saturday's fitting station is free for all parents who want to receive a crash course on how to properly install a car seat, the safest place in the car for a car seat, and the proper way to secure a car seat.
The OHS Occupant Safety Program and its sub-grantee, the Child Car Services Division of the Department of Human and Social Services, usually provide the general public with free car seats, upon request, and based on availability.
Free car seats will not be offered next Saturday. The last time this happened was earlier this year on June 29 when about 30 car seats were handed out free of charge.
Since the program was implemented three years ago, over 3,000 free car seats have been distributed to local residents. Sadly, the local compliance/usage percentage is less than half the national average.
In the United States, the national compliance level is 80% while locally, the numbers are devastating. In 2010, the compliance level stood at 30%
The following year in 2011, that number dropped to 23% and then increased to 33% in 2012.
Figures and data for 2013 are not yet available.
Bird said the numbers are "very sad." He added, "we're doing everything we can to promote the use of car seats but apparently, nobody is listening. These are things that are there to save the lives of children but people just aren't taking the message and words of advice seriously." He said their office plans to conduct a local survey with regards to car seats and he is hopeful that the numbers will show an increase in the compliance percentage.
Samoa News understands that some locals are only picking up free car seats but not using them. Instead, they are being sent off island, including neighboring Samoa.
For more information on the Occupant Safety Program or details on next Saturday's fitting station, contact program manager David Bird or OHS program coordinator Fred Scanlan at 633-1780.
"Know For Sure If Your Child Is In The Right Car Seat!"
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