The Sierra Vista Police Department will tighten enforcement efforts and will join forces with Sierra Vista Fire & Medical Services to conduct public outreach in support of national Child Passenger Safety Week from Sunday, Sept. 19, through Saturday, Sept. 25.
Police officers will exercise zero tolerance of child restraint and seat belt violations, including seat belt violations by adults, during Child Passenger Safety Week. Officers will focus on enhanced enforcement of the following laws:
- A person shall not operate a motor vehicle when transporting a child who is under the age of 5 or under the age of 8 and is also less than 4 feet 9 inches in height unless that child is properly secured in a child restraint system.
- Any passenger who is younger than 16 years old must have their lap and shoulder belt properly fastened while the vehicle is in motion.
- Anyone in the front seats of a motor vehicle must have the lap and shoulder belt properly fastened while the vehicle is in motion.
“Traffic collisions are a leading cause of death for young children and many of these deaths can be prevented through proper use of child safety seats, boosters, and seat belts,” SVPD Sgt. Tim Wachtel says.
SVF&MS regularly offers free car safety seat checks and car safety seats, pending completion of a hands-on class, as part of a grant-funded program. On Sept. 25, which is National Seat Check Day, SVF&MS is hosting a child car seat safety check event at Cal-Ranch in Sierra Vista from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students from the department’s hands-on car seat safety class and instructors will be available to provide child car seat safety checks. SVPD will also conduct outreach at the event and will have officers available to answer questions concerning child passenger safety laws.
“Nearly half of all car seats for children are used or installed incorrectly and we’re here to help parents do better,” says SVF&MS Engineer and Paramedic Michael Quarto, the department’s child car seat safety program coordinator.
Child car seats and boosters are one of the easiest ways to keep your child safe and, when installed correctly, car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Unfortunately, many parents install their child car seats incorrectly. Among children under 5, an estimated 325 lives were saved in 2017 alone because they were properly buckled, but an additional 46 children could have been saved if every child was properly buckled.
The state’s Child Passenger Safety Week campaign is conducted by the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, in conjunction with the national campaign sponsored by the NHTSA.
Schedule a free child safety seat check
Sierra Vista Fire & Medical Services offers free child passenger seats and seat checks, pending completion of a hands-on class. Appointments must be made in advance by calling Fire Station 3 at (520) 417-4400 or using the online form available at www.SierraVistaAZ.gov (search for “car seat safety check”) so a technician can be scheduled.
Since 2008, Sierra Vista Fire & Medical Services has provided 1207 child car safety seats and performed more than 1,673 car seat safety checks. In 2019, the department checked 135 seats and provided 66 seats. This program is made possible by a grant from the Tucson Medical Center Foundation, which is part of the Children’s Miracle Network.