Free child seat installation at Aptos/La Selva Fire Sept. 28

Dear Street Smarts,
Q: Parking near schools is an issue on Redwood Drive in Boulder Creek, too. The back of Boulder Creek Elementary School butts up against the man's home I caregive for. He feels extremely unsafe, as parents drive through his property and even park there! In the winter, it gets muddy there and they dig huge ruts in his driveway and across his property! When we ask them not to, they cuss him and I out. He's 78 years old and has a hard time moving around. One year we put up a chain across his property and they tore it out. Law enforcement won't do anything. The school won't do anything. He just has to sit there and watch his property be ruined. It's sad and this poor old guy is helpless to it. Corrine Bridges via email A: Clearly this is an issue in many neighborhoods near schools. My sources recommend reporting the problem to the school itself, the police and then the school district. Child Passenger Safety Week This week is Child Passenger Safety Week and to commemorate, the Safe Kids Chapter of Santa Cruz County and Aptos/La Selva Fire Protection District are teaming up to offer child seat instruction and installation for free Saturday, Sept. 28. Information will be available in both English and Spanish from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 6934 Soquel Dr. Funding for the event comes, in part, from a grant from California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Automobile collisions are the leading cause of death for children ages 1-13 years old and the best way to protect them is to have them properly restrained in the family or caregiver vehicle. That means child safety seats of the correct size must be used and they must be installed properly. To help your kids ride safe in the family car, follow the "4 Steps for Kids" guidelines recommended by NHTSA and the American Academy of Pediatrics:
  • Infants and toddlers should ride in rear-facing car seats in the back seat until they grow to the size and weight limit specified on their seat. The recommendation is for children to remain rear facing until they are about two years old. Never install a rear-facing seat in front of an active airbag.
  • When youngsters outgrow their rear-facing convertible seats, it's time to place them in forward-facing car seats with harness in the back seat until they reach the seat's height or weight limit, usually 40 to 50 pounds depending on the child's physical and developmental needs.
  • When children no longer fit in their forward-facing child seats, they should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat in the back seat until the vehicle's seat belts fit properly and will stay safely in position during the ride. California law requires children to remain in a booster or other federally-approved child safety seat until they are 8 years old or 4 ft. 9 inches tall.
  • Children can ride in the car with seat belts only, when they outgrow their booster seats and are developmentally ready. A proper fitting seat belt means the knees bend comfortably over the front of the vehicle seat, the lap belt lies low across the hips, touching the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest and shoulder without touching the neck.
  • Youths under 13 years of age should ride in the back seat.
For information, call Erin Collins at the fire department at 685-6690. For information in Spanish, call 454-4317. Learn more about child passenger safety, as well as events and resources countywide, by calling 454-5477.
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