The Virgin Islands Office of Highway Safety’s Occupant Protection Program provided certification training to 33 Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Technicians. The technicians now hold a two-year nationally recognized certificate and will provide expert car seat fitting advice and installation assistance to motorists with children throughout the territory.
Technicians hail from the V.I. Police Department, V.I. Fire Service, V.I. Department of Human Services, Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center, Schneider Regional Medical Center, and St. Thomas East End Medical Center.
Child passengers in the territory are often observed riding unrestrained or improperly restrained, increasing crash-related risks for injury. This risk may also be shared by children in safety seats.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 46% of car seats and booster seats are used incorrectly, compromising the safety of child crash victims.
“We are especially excited about the 12 VIPD officers certified among this elite force of CPS Technicians,” said VIPD Commissioner Ray A. Martinez. “This training will increase these officers’ effectiveness in ensuring public safety for a most vulnerable population.”
The session in the St. Thomas-St. John District took place from Feb. 21-25 and resulted in 17 certified technicians. The session on St. Croix, which ran from March 1 through March 4, yielded 16 certified technicians. In addition to providing support to motorists with children in their daily professional duties, the technicians will also take their skills on the road.
“We will be going into the housing communities and wherever children are found. The technicians will work with parents to ensure that they have the right seat for their child and that the seats are correctly installed,” said V.I. Office of Highway Safety’s Director Daphne O’Neal. “Our goal is to empower parents and to eliminate crash-related injuries caused by improper restraints for all children.”
For more information on car seat use or the Child Passenger Safety Program, contact the Virgin Islands Office of Highway Safety through O’Neal at firstname.lastname@example.org or Occupant Protection Planner/Coordinator Denise Gomes at email@example.com. Individuals can also contact the office via telephone at 772-3025 or 473-7383.