Seats will give kids safer ambulance ride

September 02, 1997


Staff Writer

Community Rescue Service takes its mission of protecting children very seriously. And now the CRS ambulances are equipped to better serve those young patients.

Thanks to Safe Kids of Washington County, all CRS ambulances are now equipped with five-point child safety seats, according to Brent Bankson, a CRS paramedic.

The upgrade came about when Bankson called Safe Kids director Beth Kirkpatrick at Washington County Hospital.

"Brent called and said he was interested in the work of Safe Kids of Washington County,'' Kirkpatrick said. In that conversation, Bankson mentioned that CRS ambulances didn't have any child safety seats for young patients.


Kirkpatrick immediately arranged to provide the car seats which her organization gets from the General Motors partnership with Safe Kids' Buckle Up program.

The seats are one-size-fits-all that are appropriate for children from birth to 4 years or 40 pounds, Kirkpatrick said.

"We had some rescue type car seats but we weren't happy with those,'' Bankson said.

One will be in the CRS ambulance stationed in Maugansville while the others will be on the ambulances that run out of the East Franklin Street headquarters.

Sometimes, children involved in accidents aren't injured so seriously that they must be put on a stretcher, Bankson said. Children of injured parents often must travel to the hospital in the ambulance and have no safe place to sit.

"There are also many times when we have more than one child to transport,'' Bankson said.

Kirkpatrick stressed that a child safety seat that has been involved in an accident can no longer be used - either in the original vehicle or in an ambulance.

"We really need to educate people about that, since once a safety seat has been involved in an accident, it is no longer safe to use,'' Kirkpatrick said.

While Bankson realizes that time is of the essence in getting to the hospital, he said that's no excuse for unsafe transportation of a child.

"We all can get rushed or busy or lazy and that outweighs safety but that can't be,'' he said, referring to anyone transporting a child.

A veteran of many calls with injured children, Bankson said it is frustrating when those injuries could have been prevented with proper restraints.

Kirkpatrick noted that perhaps 80 percent of the people who have their children in restraints are doing it improperly. And then there are the 40 percent of children who travel with no restraints at all.

For more information on child safety seats call 301-790-8950.

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