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HomeNewsPolice & CourtsVIOHS and JFLHMC Partner for Child Passenger Safety

VIOHS and JFLHMC Partner for Child Passenger Safety

In the territory, child restraints are required for children under the age of 8 or less than 4 feet 9 inches tall. (Submitted photo)
In the territory, child restraints are required for children under the age of 8 or less than 4 feet 9 inches tall. (Submitted photo)

The Virgin Islands Office of Highway Safety and the Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center announced they have partnered to improve crash outcomes for child passengers.

Through a Memorandum of Understanding, the agencies will conduct several activities to educate, empower and provide safety resources to caregivers who transport young children, a press release stated.

The initiative will engage families receiving services through the hospital’s mother baby, pediatrics, and emergency departments. One activity – the New Life Project – will provide video education and resources to parents of newborns to support safe use and installation of baby’s first car seat – a V.I. law mandate, the release stated.

According to the release, the partnership will also connect caregivers with resources and support caregivers in making safe child passenger safety decisions throughout their child’s development.

“It is critical that roadway safety becomes every new parent’s priority,” noted VIOHS Director Daphne O’Neal. “This program will not just prepare parents to use this first seat safely, but it will teach them the subsequent stages required by law to secure children through booster seat years, and beyond.”

In the territory, child restraints are required for children under the age of 8 or less than 4 feet 9 inches tall. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, car and booster seats are proven to reduce injuries and fatalities for child crash victims. However, local data shows that over 66.9 percent of these children are transported without appropriate restraints, the release stated.

Through a two-hour non-certification training, VIOHS also provided 51 nurses at the hospital with skills and strategies aimed to increase safety for discharged child passengers. Interested nurses also have the option of participating in a four-day certification training course, resulting in a two-year nationally-recognized child passenger safety technician certification, stated the release.

For more information on seat belts, child car safety seat use or other safe driving practices, contact the VIOHS Occupant Protection Planner/Coordinator Denise Gomes at denise.gomes@vipd.vi.gov, O’Neal at daphne.oneal@vipd.vi.gov,  or the office via telephone at (340) 772-3025 or (340) 473-7383.

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