Cohen Children’s Brings Car Safety to the Front Door

Cohen Children's valet Victor Barros makes sure that care seats are installed properly.

At Cohen Children’s Medical Center, even the valet is in the business of saving lives.

Sure, the valet can help visitors with parking, directions and unloading the car. But at Cohen Children’s, the valet is also looking out for the safety of the hospital’s youngest patients.

About a year ago, the valet participated in 32 hours of training to become a child passenger safety technician. In turn, the valet is officially certified to provide families with passenger safety education and teach parents how to properly install car seats.

If the valet spots a safety issue or sees a new family struggling with a car seat, he offers his help. Families can also arrange to meet at a later time for free car seat assistance.

“What better person to have this training,” said Debora Riccardi, DNP, RN, CPNP, director of Community Health Nursing at Cohen Children’s. “Our goal is to educate families so that they have the tools to protect their children.”

Dr. Riccardi is a certified child passenger safety instructor and has provided training for many years. She also manages the hospital’s Buckle Up for Life Program, which is designed to bring lifesaving safety education to African-American and Hispanic communities. Research shows that both communities experience disproportionately high rates of motor vehicle injuries and death. Each year, Dr. Riccardi and her colleagues visit three AfricanAmerican and three Hispanic churches to teach adults, teens and children about car safety. The events also include free child car seat checks.

“We have the knowledge, and it’s our duty to share that with the community,” Dr. Riccardi said. “We want to save lives — that’s our number one goal.”

Is Your Car Seat Installed Correctly?

Putting in a child car seat may seem easy, but Dr. Riccardi noted that four out of every five seats are installed incorrectly. To turn that statistic around, Cohen Children’s hosts free child car seat checks every month. For a schedule, visit bit.ly/carsafetycheck.

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