Keep kids safe
GREG Hehir doesn’t know how many lives he’s saved, or how much pain and suffering he’s averted.
But he wants to save more.
Greg – the manager of community education at Rocky’s ambulance station – is no superhero.
He’s just the bloke who shows parents how to correctly fit baby capsules and child restraints into their cars.
“It’s a fairly simple procedure, but if you don’t get it right then every journey becomes a potential death trap,” says Greg, who fits about 500 restraints a year.
His advice is free, and it’s greatly needed.
“We’ve had people turn up in the back seat, cradling a newborn in their arms. It’s a horror show.”
With school holidays on the horizon, Queensland Ambulance Service is urging parents to ensure their children are properly strapped in.
It’s estimated as many as 70% of child restraints are incorrectly fitted.
And then there are those parents who simply ignore the law and their responsibilities to protect youngsters from harm.
Greg runs the baby capsule hire service for Rockhampton.
For $20 parents can pick up a capsule suitable for a baby from birth to six months, or about nine kilograms.
“At that price – a one-off payment – there really is no excuse for anyone,” he says.
But it’s not the parents of newborns who are the problem.
“Most new parents are very careful and do the right thing.
“It’s when the kids get to three or four that the problems start. The children can moan that they don’t want to be strapped in.”
Ambulance officers like Jenni Cousens, the officer in charge at Rockhampton Ambulance Station, wince when they recall the accidents they’ve seen where children have been killed or maimed.
But they know that a correctly-fitted child restraint can be the difference between horrific injuries and a few scratches.
“I’ve arrived at accidents where you are sure there will be fatalities, only to find that children have escaped unharmed,” she said.
All children up to the age of seven should travel in the rear seats and be in a child restraint or booster seat appropriate to their size.
For more information on the Queensland Ambulance Service baby capsule hire service, call 1300 369 003.