The V.I. Police Department’s Office of Highway Safety has contracted child passenger safety instructors to train a local force of safety technicians.
According to police, the agency aims to train 40 people – 20 in each district – from the Police Department, Fire Service, Department of Human Services, Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital, Schneider Regional Medical Center and St. Thomas East End Medical Center.
V.I. law requires children up to age 8 or 4 feet 9 inches tall to sit in an age and weight-appropriate child car safety seat. Trainees will reportedly learn how to help motorists choose the seat that best fits their child’s developmental level and teach them to safely install the seats.
In a press release, Police Commissioner Ray Martinez said, “Too often, children are observed in vehicles standing, kneeling, and riding in other unsafe ways.” He said having trained technicians “throughout our community will increase opportunities to provide the education parents need to make safe choices for their children.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 46 percent of car seats and booster seats are used incorrectly. “Now, parents with safety seats can get expert assistance to ensure their children’s safety,” said Martinez. Installation errors increase the risk of injury for child crash victims. Successful completion of the four-day sessions will result in a two-year, nationally recognized certification.
For more information on car seat use or the Child Passenger Safety Program, contact the Virgin Islands Office of Highway Safety through Director Daphne O’Neal at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Occupant Protection Planner/Coordinator Denise Gomes at email@example.com. You may also contact the office at 340-772-3025 or 340-473-7383.