November 17, 2017

Eastern CWTAP Student Leads in Car Safety

Kendall Soto, one of Eastern Washington University’s CWTAP students, has not only raised awareness in car seat safety, but organized a car seat training for her local office. Kendall is in the Vancouver part-time MSW program, she will graduate in June 2018. See her description of the project below.

In Kendall’s words:

"It is not uncommon for people to not know how to correctly install car seats or identify which car seats are needed for what age/size of kids. There are numerous studies available that identify car accidents as a leading cause of death in young children. The CDC has compared motor related deaths every 10 years from 1950. This table demonstrates that 11.5% of children ages 1-4 died from motor related vehicles, compared to only 2.8% in the same age group in 2010 (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/2012/029.pdf). These statistics alone show why it is important to continually study car seat safety and update our laws and recommendations accordingly.

This information along with the questions I was hearing in the office led me to do a car seat training. After all, if our main objective is to keep children safe, we need to make sure we are doing so every time we put vulnerable children in our vehicles. I reached into my professional network and asked around to find someone who knows how to fulfill this need. My Faculty Field Instructor, Erinn Havig, pointed me in the right direction. I reached out to a retired police officer who is a certified car seat safety technician. We held a 90 minute all-staff meeting to do this training and reserved several state vehicles so employees could practice installing car seats.

Car seat and child safety is a continuously evolving practice that we as workers must keep up-to-date on. In the future, I would like to see a certified car seat safety technician on staff in every office. This would ensure there is someone in the office that can provide assistance in car seat installation and answer questions. This person could also organize periodic car seat safety trainings as refresher courses, or when new studies have been released that have prompted a change in our laws or recommendations. Certification courses are held all over Washington and are usually only a few days long. I am planning on becoming certified because I believe it will be a benefit to child welfare offices. If you would like to join my cause in promoting car seat safety in our workplace, please consider organizing a car seat safety training in your office or becoming certified yourself. Let’s work together to keep children safe and our staff informed. Anyone interested in more information, who would like more resources, or who have questions, please feel free to reach out to me. Thank you." 

Kendall can be reached at kendallsoto@gmail.com