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Car seat checks ensure child safety

Panama City Beach Fire Rescue firefighter and emergency management technician, Mr. Tim Smith, installed a new car seat in 601st Air and Space Operations Center command and control planner, Tech. Sgt. Marquis Bell’s, vehicle April 19 at The Heritage Club overhang. This is year’s event was to support Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. The child car seat safety program is part of the PCB Fire Rescue’s Emerald Coast Safe Kids Chapter, which helps educate people about child car seat safety along with other safety advice. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Andrea Valencia)

Panama City Beach Fire Rescue firefighter and emergency management technician, Mr. Tim Smith, installed a new car seat in 601st Air and Space Operations Center command and control planner, Tech. Sgt. Marquis Bell’s, vehicle April 19 at The Heritage Club overhang. This is year’s event was to support Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. The child car seat safety program is part of the PCB Fire Rescue’s Emerald Coast Safe Kids Chapter, which helps educate people about child car seat safety along with other safety advice. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Andrea Valencia)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Tyndall's Airman and Family Readiness Center teamed up with the Panama City Beach Fire Rescue to host the third annual child car seat safety check April 19.

This year's event was to support Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.

The child car seat safety check program is part the PCB Fire Rescue's Emerald Coast Safe Kids Chapter, which helps educate people about child car seat safety, pool safety and bicycle safety.

"This is a great month to remind parents about child safety," said Tamara Turnmeyer Marler, 325th Fighter Wing Airman and Family Readiness Center community readiness consultant. "With the busy schedule families live, sometimes we can forget about the simple things such as correct car seats and proper installation, which can save lives."

The event provided Team Tyndall Airmen and families the opportunity to ensure the safety of their children while riding in motor vehicles.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are the number one killer of children 1 to 12 years old in the United States.

"The best way to protect children in the car is to utilize the correct car seat for their age installed the correct way," Ms. Turnmeyer Marler said.

During the event, PCB Fire Rescue members checked to see if the car seats were installed properly, if the children were fitted correctly, and if the car seats were expired or if their serial numbers were on the recall ordinance list.

"If the car seats were unfit or recalled, we have safe car seats available for parents to switch out," said Lieutenant Terry Parris, PCB Fire Rescue paramedic. "We are the lead agency for the county. We have 20 certified technicians and try to hold several community events throughout the year.

"During a year, we inspect 300 to 400 car seats. At least seven out of 10 of those were installed or used wrongly or expired," added Lt. Parris.

This is the third year the Tyndall community hosted this event, and this is the second time working with the Panama City Beach Fire Department.

"This is a great program because it shows the community's appreciation for military through their want to come out to the Tyndall community and make sure our military children are safe," said Tech. Sgt. Marquis Bell, 601st Air Operations Command command and control planner.  "It's always a good to idea to make sure we are doing the right things to keep our children safe, and if we aren't, this program is there to educate us."

For more safety information, visit http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS or like the Emerald Coast Safe Kids Chapter on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Safe-Kids-Emerald-Coast/104603332922965.