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Death of loved one spurs car seat clinic leader

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

(Photo)
By LINDA MESSMER

Times Staff Writer

A free car seat clinic, sponsored by the CARS Healthy Families of Clay County and Brazil Autoplex, was held Monday afternoon at the Clay County Learning Center.

Inspections were done by the Vigo County Chances for Indiana Youth. Donna Whitmer, family assessment worker for Healthy Families of Clay County, said the turnout this year was much greater than last year.

Whitmer takes the clinic personally.

"I do this as a personal vendetta," Whitmer said. "My little brother was killed in a car wreck 35 years ago. He was standing up in the back seat when our car was hit head on by a drunk driver. Back then they didn't have car seats."

Abby Wright, one of the inspectors from Chances for Indiana Youth, demonstrated the proper way to install a car seat. The seat has to be as tight as possible with minimal movement. No movement is best.

The best way to install a car seat is for the adult to position him or herself in the car seat on their knees. If possible, they should brace their head against the ceiling of the car to get the best leverage. Then apply the seat belt as recommended by the car seat manufacturer. Visual instructions are usually on the car seat.

Wright also said a car seat that's been in a wreck is not safe and should not be used. She advised against buying car seats at yard sales unless the history of the seat is known.

"The number one preventable cause of death of small children in car accidents is an improperly used car seat," Wright said.



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