Harris Methodist Erath County Offers Car Seat Checks
09/15/2008

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital will hold a free car seat check from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20. The event will be held in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

The Wells family knows firsthand the benefits of proper installation of car seats, and of the Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital free car seat safety check. Not long after having a safety check, they was in an accident that totaled their truck and required the Jaws of Life to get the family out. But their daughter Elizabeth, who was just 3 months old, was unharmed because her car seat was safely secured.

During the free event, parents will be able to have car seats checked and learn if a new seat is required. Hospital officials will check to see if the car seat is appropriate for the age, weight and size of the child, as well as if it is positioned in the safest place of the car, if the seat belts are being used correctly and if the seat is safe to use.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children remain in a child safety seat until eight years of age, or he or she reaches 4 feet 9 inches or 80 pounds. The SAFE KIDS campaign estimates that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children, with more than 270,000 children injured and more than 1,765 children killed every year.

“Car seats can help save children’s lives,” HMEC Clinical Educator Jennifer McMeens said. “Child passenger safety technicians would rather install a car seat correctly and prevent injuries than to have an injured child come into our hospital because their car seat was installed incorrectly. We can help prevent that from happening and we want to keep children from getting hurt in our community.”

Many parents are unaware of the recommendations for child safety seats. For example, babies younger than one year old should remain in a rear-facing seat, even after they outgrow the initial baby carrier. Also, according to carseat.org, car seats have expiration dates because weather can cause the material to deteriorate.

“Having the proper safety seat in place, and installed correctly, is a crucial step to keeping children safe,” McMeens said.

For more information on the event, call 254-965-1262. The Safe Riders Traffic Safety Program is supporting the event. Safe Riders is sponsored by the Texas Department of State Health Services with help from the Texas Department of Transportation.

For more information on child safety seats, visit www.dshs.state.tx.us/saferiders or www.usa.saferiders.org.

About Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital
Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital is a 98-bed community hospital that provides health care for residents in Erath and the surrounding counties. As one of 13 hospitals in the Texas Health Resources system, Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital offers the compassion, respect, and commitment nurtured by one of the largest faith-based nonprofit hospital systems in the United States.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. THR’s system of 13 hospitals includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System, and a medical research organization. THR is a corporate member or partner in six additional hospitals and surgery centers. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit www.texashealth.org.