Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children, ages 3-14, and research shows seven out of ten child safety seats are installed incorrectly. A program of the Carrollton Police Department is helping change those grim statistics. “Certified technicians from our Child Passenger Safety Program educate caregivers on how to properly install a car seat in a vehicle and a child in a car seat,” Officer Matt Jones said. “We also provide information on the relevant laws and best practices pertaining to child passenger safety.” Georgia law says children, 8 years old or younger, must be properly secured in an approved car seat or booster seat while riding in passenger automobiles, vans and pickup trucks.
Properly installed child safety seats reduce the risk of injury in a crash by 71-82 percent. In addition to the program’s educational component, the police provide free car seats to caregivers in need. People who apply for a car seat at the police department on West Center Street must meet eligibility requirements. Once an application is reviewed and approved, an officer will set up an appointment to give the caregiver a seat and educate them on its proper use. All program participants must attend a one-hour training session. The department also hosts free car seat safety checks throughout the city where caregivers can drive up and make sure their seats are properly installed and in good condition.
Through the Child Passenger Safety Program, the department reaches out to different groups, such as DFACS, Single Parents Ministry, Department of Public Health and area churches, to offer help using or acquiring seats. Recently, the department provided 10 seats to the Carrollton Church Without Walls for some of their members in need. “Our mission is to be a community church, to be the hands and feet of Christ,” Church Without Walls’ Apostle Walter Green said. “This helps us meet our mission both physically and spiritually. We have several parents in our congregation and community that will really benefit from this.”
Apostle Green said the seats will not only be helpful from a safety standpoint, but also help the parents feel more confident and less fearful while driving. “We are excited about our partnership with the police,” said Green. “Growing up, seeing the police officers walking around in our community, interacting with the community – that was big for us. Our community is great. I wouldn’t live anyplace else.”
For questions concerning this program or the Carrollton Police Department, please call (770) 834-4451.