U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – The VI Office of Highway Safety’s Occupant Protection Program has partnered with nationally acclaimed Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Instructors to train a local force of CPS Technicians. The agency strives to train 40 personnel – 20 in each District – from various agencies to include VI Police Department, VI Fire Service, VI Department of Human Services, Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center, Roy Schneider Regional Medical Center and St. Thomas East End Medical Center.
The VI Code 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 learn how to assist motorists with children in choosing the seat that best fits their child’s developmental level while teaching them to safely install the seats. VIPD Commissioner Designee Ray A. Martinez remarked, “Too often, children are observed in vehicles standing, kneeling, and riding in other unsafe ways. Having CPS 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 (NHTSA), 46% of car seats and booster seats are used incorrectly. “Now, parents with safety seats can get expert assistance to ensure their children’s safety,” offered Martinez. Installation errors increase risk of injury for child crash victims.
Successful completion of the four-day sessions will result in a two-year, nationally recognized certification. CPS Technicians, strategically placed throughout the community, would provide a life-preserving service for motorists with children. “We will activate and advertise CPS Fitting Stations throughout our community where parents can get car seat advice and installation assistance. Our goal is to have every child in the territory riding safely,” announced VIOHS Director Daphne O’Neal.
For more information on car seat use or the Child Passenger Safety Program, you may contact the Virgin Islands Office of Highway Safety through Director Daphnie O’Neal at [email protected], or Occupant Protection Planner/Coordinator Denise Gomes at [email protected]. You may also contact the office via telephone at (340) 772-3025 or (340) 473-7383.
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