Davis started training to be a technician eight years ago. She became a tech instructor this last fall. Altus Fire and Rescue have four certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians, including Davis. The other three are Fire Marshall Jerry Abbott, Lt. Greg Cross, and Firefighter Neil Bonds. These technicians enable the department to conduct events to check for proper fitting and installation of child safety seats, and to give child safety seats to eligible families on some kind of government assistance.
So why do we need these CPS techs? "Chief J.R. Wheeler is proactive rather than reactive," Davis said. "he's found four out of every five child safety seats is either installed incorrectly or the harness points are positioned incorrectly on the children's bodies. "The guys don't want to go out on a scene where something could have been prevented."
The new American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) child safety seat recommendations are also highly recommended by Safe Kids. Detailed information on these new recommendations is available at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) web site at http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS.
One of the new recommendations is that infants and toddlers be kept in a rear-facing car seat until two years of age. Though their legs will be bent, their brains and spinal cords will be better protected from from injury or even internal decapitation. Another change is that children under four feet nine inches should still use a booster seat, with the lap belt and shoulder harness properly fitted across the hips and shoulders. Children under thirteen should not be allowed to ride in the front seat of vehicles. If a child must ride in a single cab vehicle such as a truck, Davis said the passenger side air bag should be turned off to prevent the force designed for a 170 pound man from impacting the child. Davis hopes these new AAP recommendations become Oklahoma State law to prevent infant and child injuries and possible deaths.