MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE --
It is federal law to wear a seat belt in a vehicle, but some parents do not realize this includes car seats for their children. More than 4,000 children who weren’t properly restrained were killed between 2006 and 2010. With the help of numerous organizations aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, a reform is underway to reduce the number.
For the first time ever aboard the base, a week-long safety inspection is scheduled to ensure proper usage and application for child safety seats.
Members from the Provost Marshals Office, Base Safety, N.C. Safe Kids Buckle Up and Safe Kids Worldwide will be at the Marine Corps Exchange Nov. 5 to 8 conducting safety checks for any vehicles.
The service will be free of charge and advise on the correct instillation, age and weight appropriate as well as serviceability of safety seats.
In cases where safety seats need replacement, Marine Corps Community Services is offering a 20 percent discount at the MCX.
The main goal of this safety checkpoint is to educate parents about the proper use of safety seats, said Ashley J. Harwood, accident investigator with PMO.
“The national average is 80 percent for parents who do not install or properly use the safety seats,” said Harwood.
Aboard the base, not only are children at risk in an accident, but if an individual is caught with a child not properly restrained, they are held accountable.
“On base we average 90 percent of misused safety seats, and a citation will be issued if someone is caught,” said Matthew S. Brandow, accident investigator with PMO.
The safety seats range from infant through eight years of age, as well as a minimum requirement of 80 pounds for three point seat belts. Brandow stated the standards are not enough to ensure the safety of young children.
“We teach best practice,” said Brandow. “We exceed what the standards say to maximize safety for young children. A child can be eight years old but if they do not meet the 80-pound weight requirement, they should not be removed from the safety seat.”
Since 1975, thousands of children’s lives were saved through proper safety seat usage and aboard MCB Camp Lejeune, and a group effort is attempting to prevent the number from climbing.
For more information visit www.safekids.org or www.buckleupNC.org