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Keeping our smallest patients safe

Springfield | Eugene | Cottage Grove | Florence | November 13, 2020
A certified child passenger safety technician instructs parents how to properly buckle their newborn into her car seat before the family leaves PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, Ore.
A car-seat safety program debuts at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend

There’s a new item on the check-out list as families with children discharge from PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend.

Now, thanks to the Safe Rides for Safe Kids program, families are offered child car-seat training and a free car-seat check by a certified technician before they leave the hospital.

Newborn Evelyn Secora of Springfield, Ore., is fastened in her car seat at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend “These checks truly will help prevent injuries and save lives,” says Angela Zallen, MD, a pediatric hospitalist at Sacred Heart at RiverBend and co-chair of Safe Kids West Oregon, a nonprofit child safety advocacy group.

The program debuted in May 2020, after Dr. Zallen and other PeaceHealth physicians and caregivers championed the idea, and generous donors contributed to the Safe Rides for Safe Kids fund managed by the PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center Foundation.

Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United States. Yet national data show that almost three out of four car seats are installed incorrectly.

Offering families the opportunity to have a certified technician check that their child’s car seat hasn’t been recalled and that it’s installed and functioning properly takes away the guesswork. A properly installed car seat can reduce a child’s risk of death in a motor vehicle collision by as much as 71 percent.

Often the fixes the technician makes area as simple as adjusting the seat’s settings for the child’s size, smoothing out twisted straps or re-threading straps that had been threaded incorrectly.

Brittney and Zachary Secora and their newborn, Evelyn, are among the hundreds of families who the technicians have helped.Brittney and Zachary Secora and their newborn daughter, Evelyn, outside PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, Ore.

“Going home for the first time, especially as first-time parents, is very terrifying,” Brittney says. “It definitely was that extra peace of mind leaving the hospital knowing that (Evelyn) was buckled in safely and that somebody who knows what they’re talking about has looked at her car seat and seen that she was going to be safe.”

Watch the video below to see how Safe Rides for Safe Kids is helping to keep our smallest patients safe.

Top photo: Certified child passenger safety technician Debbie Janecek gives pointers to new parents Brittney and Zachary Secora.
Second photo: Evelyn Secora is buckled safely into her car seat.
Third photo: And baby makes three: Brittney, Zachary and Evelyn Secora.  

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