Car-seat safety information available in Comox Valley

Having volunteered at many large-scale car seat checks for families in the Ottawa area, St. John Ambulance-certified child restraint safety technician — a.k.a. ‘car seat tech’ — Jen Shapka was disappointed to find nothing similar happening in the Valley when she moved here this summer.

Having volunteered at many large-scale car seat checks for families in the Ottawa area, St. John Ambulance-certified child restraint safety technician — a.k.a. ‘car seat tech’ — Jen Shapka was disappointed to find nothing similar happening in the Valley when she moved here this summer.

She’s decided to change that.

Enlisting the help of a few other techs in the area, Shapka has reached out to many local groups that work with parents and children in the hopes of raising awareness and interest in child passenger safety.

Transport Canada estimates incorrect usage of child restraints — and that includes booster seats — at somewhere around 80 to 90 per cent.

With more than 10,000 children under the age of 12 injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents in Canada every year, correctly using an appropriate child restraint is the single best thing you can do to increase your child’s safety in the car.

Shapka’s primary goal is to educate parents on best practices and teach them to properly and safely install and use their children’s car seats and booster seats.

With changes coming to the federal standards on Jan. 1, 2012, Shapka anticipates an increase in questions from parents. Shapka volunteers her time and would be pleased to speak to individuals and groups in the area.

Free private installation sessions can also be arranged.  Questions or comments can be directed to cvcarseattechs@gmail.com.

— Jen Shapka