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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Seatbelt safety - don’t gamble with your life


Randy Youngman, Regional Traffic Safety Consultant - Lotteries - Spend a couple bucks and have a chance at winning millions! Lotteries are something we gamble with, even though the odds are so slim of winning. Gambling a dollar….no big deal. Gambling with your life… a different story! So why wouldn’t we chose to do a simple, quick act that almost guarantees our odds of survival in the event of a crash?

Research and collision investigations show that seat belts increase our chance of survival in a collision by 50 per cent, according to the Alberta Office of Traffic Safety. According to Transport Canada, nearly 40 per cent of drivers and passengers killed in collisions were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of their collisions.

With statistics like that, it’s amazing that people still choose to go without their seat belt. Even more disconcerting are adults who endanger children's lives by not properly securing them in child restraint safety seats. By law, every child in Alberta, under the age of 6, weighing not more than 18 kg. (40 lbs.), must be secured in an approved child safety seat. The best way to check for proper installation is to read the instruction booklet that comes with the seat as well as your vehicle’s manual. If a child is not secured properly in a safety seat they can be injured or cause injury to others by being thrown around inside or ejecting from the vehicle.

Here in the southeastern corner of Alberta we have a fantastic resource for all child safety seat inquiries. This is the South Eastern Alberta Safety Alliance (SEASAS) and Safety City. Call these experts at 403-529-2912 and they will be able to answer your questions. According to Executive Director Tom Carney “the most common mistakes we see with car seat installations are improper placement in the vehicle, failure to tightly secure the units and improper or no tethers on forward facing child seats.”

In Medicine Hat, there is a drop-in child restraint clinic every Wednesday from 1 to 3 p.m., at the Community Health Services building, 2948 Dunmore Rd. S.E. There is also a clinic, every 4th Thursday 5:30 – 7:30 at Murray Chevrolet service bays.

Brooks has a similar drop in clinic every fourth Thursday 1 to 3 p.m. at the Brooks Fire Hall. These are free community services, with trained "car seat technicians" to help you ensure your child seat installation is done properly.

Check with Community Health in your community to inquire about these clinics in your area.

Most people know that failing to wear their seat belts can result in a $155 fine. But failing to secure a child properly in a child car seat or failing to install that seat properly can also result in a $155 fine.

Randy Youngman is Regional Traffic Safety Consultant with the Alberta Office of Traffic Safety and can be reached at 403.458.1890 or by e-mail at randy.youngman@gov.ab.ca

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