HCSO Hosts National Child Passenger Safety Week Press Conference

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond and the HCSO Safe Journey Program, in a joint partnership with the AAA Motor Club of Chattanooga, hosted a press conference and community car seat check on Tuesday afternoon in recognition of National Child Passenger Safety Week. In honor of the occasion, Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger proclaimed the week of Sept. 17-23, National Child Passenger Safety Week in Hamilton County. 

The press conference discussed the importance of making sure parents and care givers utilize child safety seats and vehicle restraints correctly in order to make sure the community’s children arrive alive at each destination. 

Numerous HCSO personnel were in attendance including Chief Deputy Allen Branum, Support Services Director Gino Bennett, Traffic Division Captain Charles Lowery, Jr., Sergeant David Tittle, and Safe Journey Program Manager, Rebecca Campbell. Also participating in Tuesday’s press conference were Safe Journey Car Seat Technician’s Sharon Patten and Joseph Lockhart. 

“Motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of unintentional injury and death to children under the age of 14,” said Sheriff Hammond. “According to Safe Kids Worldwide, four out of five car seats are not used correctly. The Safe Journey Program allows us an opportunity to help educate the public on the proper use of car seats in order to help make sure all our community’s car seats are used the right way.”

The event featured remarks by AAA Motor Club Public Relations Specialist Megan Osborne. During the press conference, Ms. Osborne discussed AAA’s focused efforts to help educate the public on the perils of distracted driving and how parents should try to be responsible role models for children to help establish safe driving habits early.

“Adults think the little ones aren’t paying attention to what they are doing behind the wheel – but they are," said Ms. Osborne.  "It is never too early to start the safe driving conversation, even if your kiddo is years from getting behind the wheel. AAA encourages parents and adults to take a look at their own driving habits… What bad driving behavior are you modeling for the watchful eyes in the back seat?” 

Also in attendance were AAA Motor Club Field Manager Karen Sanchez and several other local and corporate AAA Motor Club personnel. 

“Our children are our most important assets and making sure we offer parents and caregivers a place to ask questions and have their child’s car seat properly checked is an important part of our mission as a law enforcement agency,” said HCSO Public Information Officer, Matt Lea. “It is our goal to offer guidance and programs that will help instill positive, lifelong driving habits that will promote a new generation and culture of safe drivers.” 

The event culminated with a community car-seat check where members of the community could ask questions or have certified car seat technicians help them install or check their child’s car seat placement. 

The HCSO Safe Journey Program is funded by a grant from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office. More information about the HCSO Safe Journey Program may be found online by visiting http://www.hcsheriff.gov/uniform_services/safe_journey.php.

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