Properly installed car seat can save lives
On February 12, 2006 Gabrielle Patten saved her grandson’s life. She only remembers the date because it was her birthday.
Cannon Patten was six months old when the car he was in with his parents rolled three times.
Cannon was left completely unmarked because of his car seat - which Gabrielle installed.
‘‘He didn’t have a mark on him, his mum had to go to hospital but he didn’t. What I did saved my grandson’s life.’’
Patten worked as a car seat technician for child care provider Plunket for 34 years before they stopped offering the service.
She has now partnered with Alisha Stone, a Safe Community programme manager at New Plymouth Injury Safe, to fill the gap left in the community and continues to fit child seats for families.
‘‘We just saw a need that there were people with incorrect usage and people needed seats,’’ Patten said.
‘‘We saw a need to support families and whanau fitting their car seats. I’m a mum with two kids so I know they’re not the easiest things to install,’’ Stone added.
The pair accessed funding through Roadsafe Taranaki and now go around the region every month making sure families have the opportunity to have their car seats installed safely and correctly free of charge.
‘‘A lot know it’s wrong so come and get help but the scary thing is a lot don’t know it’s wrong and they don’t get help,’’ Patten said.
Patten and Stone had been doing check points with the police, stopping families and checking their car seats as an awareness campaign.
‘‘So far less than half, so 47 per cent, were fine, 10 per cent were illegal, and the remaining 43 per cent needed something done to make them safer. They were legal but they needed adjustments,’’ Stone said.
Patten said the most common thing she sees wrong with car seats is loose harnesses.
‘‘They wouldn’t save anything. The child could just shoot out if it’s a loose harness.’’