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FORT LUPTON — Each year, Staughton McCann, a lieutenant with the Fort Lupton Fire Protection District, responds to numerous car accident emergencies.
And he has witnessed the horrible results that can happen if a child isn’t properly secured in a child safety seat in the event of a collision.
“Obviously, nobody likes to hear or see children who get injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, we sometimes see that side,” McCann said. “We have run into instances where there’s been motor vehicle accidents and a child has been injured or killed because 1.) they weren’t in a seat that was properly installed, 2.) they didn’t have the proper seat that they needed.”
So McCann did something.
He applied for a grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation to provide child safety seats to families who can’t afford one themselves.
McCann was a newcomer to the dizzying world of grant writing, but he found assistance that helped make this goal a reality.
“In the past we had if somebody comes to our station to get a child seat inspected, or they were curious about learning more child seat safety, if they have a child seat, we would check recall lists and make sure it wasn’t recalled and check the condition of the seat. And then after that, if they needed a seat, predominately low-income families, and they can’t necessarily afford to purchase a more expensive seat, we’ve given out car seats and just asked for a small donation to help replenish the supply. Child safety is our number one goal with that.”
But the department was limited on the supply of car seats, and McCann was looking for a more sustainable option.
“We were looking to purchase some more seats and I was put in touch with a woman at CDOT who handled the grant aspect of child passenger safety through the state,” McCann said. “So I applied for a grant through them, and I was able to purchase quite a few seats.”
Eighty-three seats, in fact, were purchased with the grant.
Sixty of the 83 are convertible seats, meaning that the seats work in dual functions — first as a rear-facing seat for smaller children, and then converted to a forward-facing seat for older kids.
“So we can install those for newborns and infants, and then the seat can accommodate the child as it grows,” McCann said. “Basically, the life of the seat is extended because it’s manufactured for a wider range of ages and weights.”
The remaining 23 seats are booster seats for larger children.
“What our program is aimed at is educating care givers the proper way to install a car seat safely,” McCann said. “And in the end, when a car seat is installed safely with the child in it properly, that reduces drastically the chance of significant injury or child death in a vehicle collision.”
The Fort Lupton Fire Protection District has numerous officers and staff members trained on child seat installation, but they request that the public call for an appointment before coming in for a child safety seat installation. A small donation is requested from the department. Donations go to the FLFPD’s fire awareness education program.
For more information, call 303-857-4603.
Contact Ben Wiebesiek at 303-659-2522, ext. 205, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.