November 29, 2006 - The Knoxville Fire
Department is joining the effort to improve car seat safety for
area infants and children.
Seven firefighters joined eight Knoxville Police Department employees
and a nurse from East Tennessee Children's Hospital on Tuesday to
begin a four-day child passenger safety-training program being offered
by the Safe Kids Coalition of the Greater Knox Area.
The course is being conducted at the Knox County Health Department
and will run through Friday.
In addition to passing a written test the members of the group will
have to demonstrate their skills at a child safety seat checkpoint
Saturday, Dec. 2, at Beaty Chevrolet from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.
The class will begin there on Saturday at 8 a.m.
At the conclusion of the course the group will be certified as child
passenger safety technicians who can provide safety education to
parents and other caregivers as well as assisting them in correctly
installing and using child restraint systems and safety belts.
The Knoxville Fire Department is partnering with the Safe Kids Coalition
and will begin offering free regular child safety seat checkpoints
at a fire station or stations as part of its service to citizens.
The Knoxville Police Department already partners with Safe Kids
by offering a free checkpoint each month and helps out with another
Capt. Darrell Whitaker said that people sometimes stop at stations
asking for help in determining whether the devices are properly
But he said the department didn't have certified technicians to
Now, following the training, the fire department will be able to
offer that service to citizens in a manner that is convenient to
Whitaker said the KFD hasn't worked out the details yet on whether
it will offer its regular checkpoints at one station or move it
to different stations around the city.
The Knoxville Police Department also sponsors a free checkpoint
once a month at Rusty Wallace Honda and has been a longtime partner
with the Safe Kids Coalition in providing car seat checkpoints to
the Knoxville community.
"We typically check anywhere from 30 to 45 car seats at one
of those checkpoints," said Sgt. Mike McCarter, with the Knoxville
McCarter said that the seven KPD civilian employees and one officer
are taking the course and that KPD wants to increase its pool of
certified child passenger safety technicians and instructors.
Rachel Frazier, coordinator of the Safe Kids Coalition of the Greater
Knox Area, said research nationally indicates that about 80 percent
of car seats are incorrectly installed.
"That pretty much rings true here for as long as we've been
checking car seats," she said.
She said child passenger safety has always been a top priority for
Safe Kids and that motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of
death among children nationwide.
The Safe Kids Coalition sponsors a Child Safety Checkpoint at Beaty
Chevrolet on Parkside Drive the first Saturday of each month and
the KPD sponsors one at Rusty Wallace Honda on Callahan Drive on
the second Saturday of each month.
Both checkpoints take place between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Typically members of Safe Kids and KPD personnel work both events
as well as individuals from other organizations like the Knox County
Frazier said that the Safe Kids Coalition of the Greater Knox Area
is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, the national organization, and
is providing a grant for the training made possible by Safe Kids
national sponsor GM/Chevrolet.
The Tennessee Child Passenger Safety Center, which is funded by
the Governor's Highway Safety Office, is also providing financial
support for the course.