Jennifer Rogers, a home visitor with the Batesville School District is currently the only certified Child Passenger Safety Technician in Independence County.
Rogers called the recent training “eye-opening.”
She gets asked the “Which car seat is the best car seat?” question frequently. They’re all made and tested to protect a child, but only if they are installed correctly.
“If you have a $30 car seat or a $200 car seat, if it isn’t installed correctly every time, the price tag doesn’t matter,” Rogers said.
She emphasizes the every time part.
“Even if it is buckled in correctly, if the chest clip is at the wrong level, it can actually injure a child during a wreck,” Rogers said.
In addition to advising families on proper car seat installation during her work as a home visitor, the district hopes to have outreach events during AmigoFest and Reading on the River to educate members of the community, including grandparents, aunts, friends, anyone who helps care for a child. The hands-on instruction is important especially if moving the child from vehicle to vehicle, say from a car to a pickup.
Every car seat (including infant carriers, convertibles, and boosters) has an expiration date located on it typically 4 to 6 years, so saving a car seat to pass down isn’t recommended. New parents may try save money by buying used car seats at yard sales, but it is important to know the car seat’s history. If a car seat has been in a vehicle that has wrecked, it should be thrown away.
Each make and model of vehicle has specific areas where the car seat should be, as well as differences between securing the car seat with the vehicle’s latch system, versus the safety-belts. The two different systems protect the car seat in different ways.
There’s also a whole host of factors that impact installing car seats. The child’s height, weight, age, and development. For example, Rogers’ youngest daughter is technically old enough for a booster seat, but she’s petite, so for now, she is still in a car seat.
The certification issued by Arkansas Children’s Hospital took four days of training and concluded with a community event where the technicians spent an entire day installing all kinds of child passenger seating in all manner of vehicles. Rogers also has an updated list of all the car seat recalls.
“In a district that’s progressive, our motto is ‘Students First’ and that starts with ‘Families First,” Rogers said.
Rogers has been a home visitor with the district for three years. For more information about child passenger seat installation call the Batesville School District’s The HUB at (870) 793-0627. The HUB is Batesville School District’s new family resource center. The HUB, located in the former Federal Building at 490 East College, was renovated with a $475,000 DHS grant and will be “the hub” for parent resources, student registration, and programs serving students and families attending Batesville School District.
The HUB house a food pantry, clothes closet, and offices for the district’s fourteen home visitors, who offer parenting skills training and in-home visits. The HUB is a centralized location for parent education and engagement events, like the upcoming Safety Baby Shower, where every family can take home a car seat or other safety item for their child.