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Addressing child seat safety | News, Sports, Jobs | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


Newborn Clementine Thoms of Marquette is fitted in a child safety seat during a seat check held Friday at the Marquette Township Fire Department. Child passenger safety technicians took part in the event to ensure that children in the community are riding safety. With the baby is her mother, Stacie Powers. (Journal photo by Christie Mastric)

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By CHRISTIE

MASTRIC

Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — Child safety in vehicles has come a long way over the years.

Proof of that was seen on Friday when a car safety seat check took place at the Marquette Township Fire Department.

Shilpa Jhobalia, parent liaison for the Great Start Collaborative Marquette, helped put on the event, which had a great turnout at the MTFD.

Jhobalia said Friday marked the second year the organization held such an event in Marquette County. The COVID-19 pandemic, she said, resulted in the loss of many certified child passenger safety technicians. So a multiagency committee was formed to look into getting more technicians back into the community as well as order free seats for eligible families.

“Families who are enrolled in Medicaid, Head Start, MIChild — they are entitled to free car seats through the state during every stage of the child’s development,” Jhobalia said. “So from infant car seat to booster, they can get a free car seat through a referral from an eligible agency like WIC (Women, Infants & Children).”

Installing a car safety seat properly might not be as easy as it looks.

“There are so many different types of car seats, different vehicle requirements for car seats,” Jhobalia said.

As a child grows bigger, depending on factors such as their weight and height different car seats might be required, she said.

“You start the child rear-facing, and then you have to move them forward-facing at some point,” Jhobalia said.

The technicians at Friday’s event, she said, are trained to teach parents and caregivers how to correctly install a car seat, how to use the buckles and harnesses properly, and how to minimize injury or death during a vehicle crash.

Jhobalia, who is a child passenger safety technician herself, said some technicians are firefighters or sheriff’s office employees or even work for Head Start.

“It can be, really, anybody,” Jhobalia said.

Chris Thoms and Stacie Powers of Marquette brought their newborn, Clementine Thoms, to the event.

Chris Thoms acknowledged not being overly technically efficient when it comes to certain things, such as putting in safety seats.

“I’m glad we have some professionals to help for some peace of mind,” he said.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 550. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.

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