V.I. motorists with children can now seek advice on car seat selection and receive assistance with safe seat installation at accessible locations due to the Virgin Islands Office of Highway Safety (VIOHS) partnering with several agencies and organizations.
Since the certification of 33 Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Technicians during the 2nd Quarter of Fiscal Year 2022, local technicians have been inspecting and installing child car safety seats throughout the territory. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 46% of car seats in use on the mainland are found to have common installation errors, which can jeopardize the safety of child crash victims. To date, the territory’s installation error rate is 83%.
CPS Fitting Stations have been established throughout the community to combat this statistic, where motorists with children can seek professional assistance to ensure that child passengers are transported safely. “The best car seat on the market will not protect your child if it is not safety installed,” cautioned VIPD Police Commissioner Ray A. Martinez. “Even if you think your child’s car seat is installed correctly, a 20-minute investment of your time can provide confirmation and give you peace of mind.”
Caregivers can make an appointment for a car seat check at the following sites:
St. John– VI Fire Service Admin/Prevention Office, Cruz Bay, 340-776-6333
St. Thomas– Omar Brown Sr. Fire Station, Charlotte Amalie, Phone: 340-774-7610 and St. Thomas East End Medical Center, Tutu Park Mall: 340-775-3700
St. Croix– Herbert L. Canegata Fire Station, Est. Richmond, 340-773-8050 and VI Office of Highway Safety, Frederiksted, 340-473-7383
According to NHTSA, car seats are proven to reduce the risk for crash-related injuries and fatalities. “We commend motorists who consistently utilize these safety devices for their most precious cargo,” stated VIOHS Director Daphne O’Neal. “Now, we invite the community to take caution one step further by having the experts confirm that their children are riding safely. Let’s not wait for a crash to show us otherwise.”
The community is reminded to Buckle up! Every trip. Everyone. Every time. For more information on this free service or to learn ways to get involved in traffic safety, contact the Virgin Islands Office of Highway Safety through Director O’Neal at firstname.lastname@example.org or Occupant Protection Planner/Coordinator Denise Gomes at email@example.com. You may also contact the office via telephone at (340) 473-7383