Their goal is to make sure as many children as possible are riding in a safe seat that's been installed properly and they've just gotten a big boost in their efforts thanks to a $1000 grant from REMC in Bloomfield.
Cheri Campbell, Jodi Dunigan and Leon Dunigan have taken the time to go through a 32-hour NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) Child Passenger Safety Training Program to become certified as CPS Technicians. To retain their certification, they keep up with the latest news and information about child safety seats and they attend refresher courses and additional training programs.
Campbell is the GCSD IDACS Coordinator. IDACS stands for the Indiana Data and Communications System -- the statewide computerized law enforcement and criminal justice communications and information storage and retrieval system.
Jodi Dunigan is a GCSD 911 dispatcher who serves as a supervisor -- she speaks Spanish and provides Spanish language support on the job and as a CPS technician.
Leon Dunigan is a GCSD deputy on duty patrolling Greene County's roads.
The three are certified through the Automotive Safety Program at Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana University School of Medicine.
This program has established a network of "Permanent Fitting Stations" -- places where parents can make an appointment to have their child safety seat inspected by a trained child passenger safety technician and get hands-on instruction on how to properly install the seat in their vehicle.
There are Permanent Fitting Stations located in approximately 122 locations across Indiana, but only one in Greene County -- thanks to Campbell and the Dunigans.
The GCSD's Permanent Fitting Station recently received a $500 yearly grant from Riley in addition to the $1000 from REMC.
"This money is going to enable the Greene County Sheriff's Department to insure the safety of kids in our community," said Campbell.
"We're very excited to be able to get more car seats and some equipment that we need.
"We want to thank REMC for this grant. It's going to make a difference."
Campbell explained they try to keep an inventory of car seats on hand at the sheriff's department to provide to families who are in need of a safe car seat, but their inventory has been low.
Besides providing seats to some families who meet income guidelines, Campbell said there are circumstances, such as fires and vehicle crashes, when a child needs a new seat immediately.
Besides purchasing a supply of car seats, Campbell said some of the grant money will be used to purchase a prototype car seat used for demonstrations and other related equipment needed by technicians to use in installations to make a seat level or adjust the fit of a seat in a vehicle.
Campbell said anyone who is concerned about their child's safety can make an appointment to visit the sheriff's department to have one of the technicians check their child's safety seat and make sure it's installed correctly.
"They should plan on being here about 45 minutes to an hour," said Campbell. "We're very thorough and there is no charge."
For more information or to make an appointment, call the Greene County Sheriff's Department at 384-4422.
Indiana's Child Restraint Law
* Children under age 8 must be in child restraints that meet current federal safety standards.
* Children from age 8 up to 16 must use a child restraint or vehicle safety belt.
* This law applies to all seating positions in all vehicles including cars, vans, trucks and SUVs.
* Anyone who drives children is responsible for them being properly restrained.
* If children are not properly buckled up, the driver can be fined $25.
Indiana's Safety Belt Law
* Everyone 16 years and older must wear a safety belt.
* This law applies to all seating positions in all vehicles including cars, vans, tucks and SUVs.
* Violators can be fined up to $25.
Car Seat Recommendations for Children
* Birth - 12 months: Your child under age one should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats. Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
* 1-3 years: Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It's the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat's manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
* 4-7 years: Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat's manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it's time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
* 8-12 years: Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember, your child should still ride in the back seat because it's safer there.
Is your car seat safe?
As many as nine out of ten car seats are not used or installed correctly. Most car seats have at least one misuse, and misuse can endanger a child's life.
Are you using your child's car seat correctly?
A certified car seat technician can make sure you have the car seat that fits your child best and fits in your vehicle properly.
For more information, visit www.preventinjury.org or to make an appointment for a safety inspection of your child's car seat in Greene County, call the Greene County Sheriff's Department at 384-4422.