Story last updated at 4/25/2012 - 11:31 am
JUNEAU - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Tribal Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention Program recently completed an observation survey of vehicles in Juneau that showed a high use of child car seats, but lower than average seat belt use.
The program used procedures adapted from the Indian Health Service Ride Safe Program for its observational study, observing vehicles driving in areas of Juneau likely to have high Alaska Native/American Indian use (such as the roads to SEARHC or other tribal facilities). In the car seat study, SEARHC observers made 92 observations in 12 locations of vehicles carrying children, and 97.5 percent of them were using child safety seats. That is higher than the national average of 89.0 percent and the state average of 85.0 percent.
In the seat belt use study, SEARHC observers made 788 total observations in 41 locations (672 drivers, 116 passengers). The drivers used seat belts 76.3 percent of the time, passengers 68.1 percent of the time, for a total seat belt usage of 75.1 percent. The 75.1 percent total usage was lower than the state average of 86.8 percent and the national average of 90.0 percent.
The SEARHC Passenger Safety Program can provide free car seat check-ups for those who want to make sure they have the proper-fitting seat for their car model and child. State law requires children through age 8 (who are less than 4 feet, 9 inches tall or weigh less than 65 pounds) to sit in an approved child passenger seat or booster seat when riding in an automobile.
For more information about child car seat fitting and how to schedule a fitting with SEARHC in Juneau, contact Health Advocate Lorena Gray of the SEARHC Passenger Safety Program at 364-4456 or firstname.lastname@example.org.