Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

March 27, 2014

Following car seat rules saves kids’ lives

TAHLEQUAH — First-time expectant parents often get caught up in the romance of a new baby, buying tiny clothes, caps, cribs and the like.

But before they can bring the little bundle of joy home, the purchase and proper installation of a child safety seat is required.

According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, state law requires children 5 and younger be properly restrained in either a child car seat or booster seat appropriate for their age, height and weight. Children 6-12 must be properly restrained in either a child car seat, booster seat or seat belt. “Properly restrained” means the system is correctly installed and being used in accordance with the seat manufacturer’s instructions.

Shawnna Roach, community resource investigator for the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service and SafeKids-certified child seat inspector, said the tribe offers assistance with obtaining and installing car seats.

“The program isn’t just for tribal citizens, but for everyone,” said Roach. “The problem we have now is a lack of seats. We try to conduct two to three safety checks per year, at which time we distribute seats.”

Roach said the average lifespan of a child safety seat is about 6 years – far beyond the time it would take a child to outgrow the equipment.

“But how long they last really depends on how they’re installed,” said Roach. “That’s why it’s so important to have a seat checked by an inspector.”

Former Daily Press staffer Kellie Odeneal is the mother of two young boys: Robert, 3, and Felix, 1. While the law does not require a seat to be rear-facing after the child is a year old, Odeneal believes it is key for safety.

“The thing I’m most passionate about is rear-facing [seats],” said Odeneal. “The laws are outdated. It has somehow become a milestone to forward-face our children at 1 year and/or 22 pounds, but it’s dangerous.”

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recommends the rear-facing position until a child’s fourth birthday, and at the very minimum, 2 years. From there, children should ride in forward-facing seats with a five-point harness until they reach the maturity necessary to stay seated properly in a belt-positioning booster seat.

“[And that means seated properly] for every ride, the entire ride, even if they’re sleeping,” said Odeneal. “Booster seats are also recommended until children reach puberty, at which point their bone structure is more like that of an adult.”

Roach agrees.

“Children should remain in rear-facing seats as long as possible,” said Roach. “People have to understand that the state law says children should be restrained in the back seat until age 12, but really, age has far less to do with safety than size and the emotional maturity of the child.”

It’s not uncommon for friends and family members of an expectant couple to pass child seats on that are no longer being used. Roach stressed again the importance of having the seat inspected and properly installed.

“I wouldn’t recommend buying a used seat,” said Roach. “It’s important to know the history of a seat, because they should be replaced if they’ve ever been involved in a crash, even a minor one. If someone is looking at accepting a used seat, we ask them to bring it to us for inspection and proper installation.”

Once a child has outgrown a seat, or should the equipment wear out, Roach implores parents to not throw them away or attempt to sell them.

“Bring them to us at the Marshal Service,” said Roach. “I would hate for someone to toss a seat in a Dumpster, only to have it pulled out and used by someone. We dispose of them. Actually, what we do is destroy them so they can’t be re-used.”

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers a website, www.safercar. gov/parents/GetHelp.htm, the allows parents to register a child safety seat. Parents can also sign up to receive email alerts about car seat and booster, even though manufacturers are required to notify consumers about any recalls.

LEARN MORE

To find out more about child safety seats, their installation and inspection, contact Cherokee Nation Marshal Service Community Resource Investigator Shawnna Roach at (918) 207-3800.

tsnell@tahlequahdailypress.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • CN, UKB battle over trust land application

    Two Tahlequah-based tribes presented oral arguments Friday in a protracted fight over a land-in-trust application.

    Over the course of five hours, attorneys for the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee Nation Entertainment and the Department of the Interior made their cases before Northern District Judge Gregory Frizzell in a hearing that was originally scheduled for February.

     

    July 25, 2014

  • ts-NSU-Main-1-a.jpg No NSU pool, for now

    NSU experiencing delays in fitness center construction

    Earlier this month, Northeastern State University announced it is experiencing delays in the renovation of its fitness center and pool.
    The facility was officially shuttered Sept. 17, 2012, and at the time, the projected completion date for renovation was this fall.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • jn-Suspect-1.jpg Officials: Images of suspects may help nab church burglars

    Cherokee County investigators hope surveillance footage captured around the Crescent Valley Baptist Church in Woodall helps lead to the suspects accused of breaking into the complex and setting fire to one building this week.
    According to Undersheriff Jason Chennault, cameras captured footage of two suspects on bicycles early Tuesday morning, July 22.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • svw-movie-night.jpg Local library hosts family movie night

    Nova Foreman and her two daughters were about to leave the Tahlequah Public Library Thursday, when they saw the Family Movie Night flyer.
    The three decided to stay and enjoy a movie they had not yet seen at the free, theater-like event.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-Keys.jpg Grant to fund stepped-up Keys PE program

    Kair Ridenhour’s new office is filled with pedometers.
    Ridenhour officially started his new position as assistant elementary principal at Keys Public Schools on July 1.
    But his other role at the school – that of physical education project coordinator – prompted the influx of pedometers.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • jn cvbc fire.jpg Church catches fire after burglaries

    Authorities are looking for the person accused of breaking into the Crescent Valley Baptist Church two times this week and likely causing a fire that damaged the youth building early Wednesday morning.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • svw Humane photo.tif More volunteers needed to house strays, help with spay-and-neuter

    Furry friends may seem like the perfect addition to round out a family.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marijuana, seeds lead to four arrests

    Four people were arrested on marijuana related charges early Wednesday morning after a traffic stop on South Muskogee Avenue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Sex offender found living in tent at river

    Cherokee County sheriff’s investigators arrested a convicted sex offender this week when they discovered he has been living in a tent along the river.

    July 24, 2014

  • ts-NSU-MAIN.jpg Fledgling RiverHawks arrive

    Over 200 incoming freshmen took part in orientation class at Northeastern State University

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Stocks