Bayside, NY – They’ve trained parents, grandparents, car dealers, and police officers. Now St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children is celebrating the fifth anniversary of its car seat fitting station. Each month, one of St. Mary’s 18 certified child passenger safety technicians teach families to properly install their infant, toddler, or booster seat. In their work, they have found that over 90 percent of car seats are improperly installed.
The next car seat fitting date is Friday, Oct. 20, from 9:00 AM – Noon. St. Mary’s checks about 250 to 300 car seats each year. The fitting station is unique in that it specializes in helping children with physical disabilities. St. Mary’s also donates about 100 car seats each year to low-income families.
“Having children properly buckled into a properly installed car seat can make the difference between life and death in the case of a crash, and it can also dramatically reduce the risk of injury for babies and toddlers,” said Dr. Burton Grebin, CEO of St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Childrenand a staunch advocate of car seat safety legislation in New York.
Child safety seats reduce injury by over 70 percent for infants less than one year old and by 54 percent for toddlers between one and six years of age, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. St. Mary’s offers the car seat safety check to families as a free community service.
A post-acute care provider, St. Mary’s helps children re cover from serious accidents or injuries. Its Traumatic Brain Injury program is one of only a few that specializes in children in the New York region. St. Mary’s also offers a revolutionary form of rehabilitation therapy for children who suffer partial paralysis, Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy, which can help to recover the use of an arm, leg, or the ability to walk.
As part of its efforts to improve child safety and reduce injury, St. Mary’s has been a staunch advocate on behalf of legislative efforts to improve car seat safety, lobbying for passage of the recent New York State law requiring booster seats for children up to the age of seven.