HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Police Department plans to host a community class to increase the safety of Towns County’s youngest residents. Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith was recently contacted by the Department of Public Health, receiving a ‘mini-grant” to conduct a car seat installment class for the public and distribute safety seats, free of charge.
Chief Smith explained that a three-and-a-half-day course on proper car seat installation is offered to law enforcement officers and that it may be difficult for the average citizen to insert the safety seats in the correct manner.
“I met with the health department, the actual recipient of the grant, and (Hiawassee Police Department) will be the distributors, and in addition to that, we will teach people how to put the car seats in,” Smith said. “They will be free to anybody who’s already on some sort of public assistance, whether it be WIC, SNAP, or reduced lunches at school. Any sort of public assistance, they will qualify for a car seat.”
An hour-long PowerPoint presentation will be held, and recipients will install the car seats in their vehicles under supervision. “We’re going to have our first event April 1, I believe, if we get everybody signed up, and I look forward to working that,” Smith said.
Per law, all children under the age of 8 are required to use a car seat or booster seat, and to sit in the rear seat of vehicles. Children under age 8 who are over 4’9” tall (57”) are exempt. Children must use car seats in passenger automobiles, vans, and pickup trucks. In other words, the law applies to all vehicles except for taxis and public transit. The car seat or booster seat must be appropriate for the child’s weight and height, be properly installed and used according to the instructions. Among other requirements, both the lap and shoulder belts should be used to secure booster seats
For additional information or to sign-up for the class, contact Hiawassee Police Department at 706-896-2888.
Featured Image: A 2018 event, sponsored by Hiawassee Police Department, to check for proper car seat installation and replace damaged and expired safety seats, free of charge. A total of 20 car seats were inspected, with 11 replaced.