June 15th, 2024

Police hold first booster seat inspection event

By Justin Sibbet - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on May 30, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDjsibbet@lethbridgeherald.com

A child’s safety is arguably the most important thing in the world to a parent, yet almost all booster seats are improperly installed.
Lethbridge Police Services hosted its first ever child seat inspection event on Wednesday afternoon in the Toys ‘R’ Us parking lot. During the voluntary check stop, officers from the traffic response unit went through and explained defects and improper installations to residents who brought their vehicles in.
Sgt. Danny Lomness, who oversees the traffic response unit, says his department is centred around public traffic safety and this event should help improve it.
“As a service, we want to promote traffic safety as a whole and vehicle restraints, specifically child restraints, (are) obviously a huge (part) of that,” said Lomness.
He says LPS officers receive specific training to ensure they can conduct effective inspections as needed. He adds that LPS discover improperly installed child seats at a high rate during standard traffic stops.
“(At traffic stops) children aren’t secured correctly, or that the child restraint system isn’t fastened correctly to the vehicle.”
He says there are multiple errors that are commonly seen across the board, though every restraint and vehicle is different.
“It can be a complex system,” said Lomness. “There’s different ways to secure the child restraint to the vehicle.”
It isn’t just police officers taking traffic and child safety seriously, however. Chris DiPasquale, who is with Slow Your Roll, says he is happy to see officers hitting the streets and performing these services to the community.
“We’re super appreciative of everything that the Lethbridge Police Service continues to do to keep our roads safe,” said DiPasquale.
He says he attended the event to get his own seat checked out, but he was also happy to explain his organization’s next steps.
“Slow Your Roll’s next initiative is to help keep babies safe in cars,” said DiPasquale. “We are going to be providing anybody in Lethbridge with a free (Baby at play) sticker.”
He says anybody seeking a sticker can reach out to his Facebook page for more information.
Meanwhile, something that is certainly not free is a ticket. Lomness says it is a ticketable offense to have an improperly secured child seat, so it is important for parents and anybody transporting children to understand their vehicle and the booster seat they purchased.
“If a child seat isn’t appropriately fastened or if the child within the seat isn’t properly secured, yes (drivers) can be ticketed.”
Thankfully, Lomness says the future is looking brighter because modern designs are streamlining the process of installing a car seat.
“The newer seats and the newer vehicles obviously are making things a lot easier,” said Lomness.
Even if new technology makes things easier, he says there is still a serious problem. LPS joined up with officers from the Calgary Police Service to perform a similar event earlier this year and the fail rate was nearly 100 per cent, according to Lomness.

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