Skip to main content

South Jordan Journal

South Jordan PD becomes the ‘backseat driver’ our children deserve

May 03, 2019 08:48AM ● By Jordan Hafford

Certified child passenger safety technician adjusts child car seat to meet safety standards. (Jordan Hafford/City Journals)

By Jordan Hafford | [email protected]

We’ve all experienced the know-it-all backseat driver who can’t stop dispensing unwanted suggestions on driving safety and efficiency. But on April 4, South Jordan residents were lining up at the free car seat checkpoint, hoping to get expert advice from certified child passenger safety technicians and South Jordan police officers to ensure their children are riding as safely as possible. 

“Statistically between 70 and 80 percent of child car seats are misused in some way,” said South Jordan Police Department Sgt. Samuel Winkler. “And it could be anything from adjusting the strap a little bit higher or tighter, to something much more serious like I’ve seen in which a seat was installed with bungee cords because they didn’t know how to figure it out.” 

The South Jordan Police Department does these free check points three times a year: spring, summer and fall. They also continually run an inspection station at the police department in which residents can call to make an appointment at any time throughout the year to have their seats checked out. 

Winkler and the South Jordan Police Department strongly believe that if we are educated on the proper use of child cars seats, there will be a significant decrease of child fatalities on the road. South Jordan city has had an ongoing child seat safety program in place since 2003. Since then, the department has sent several officers out at each checkpoint event to make sure the kids are safe so that they can avoid situations like they had this past January in which a 5-year-old child was killed due to being seated in the front. If he would have been in a child seat in the back, he likely would have survived. 

South Jordan resident Kathleen Anderson came to visit the checkpoint and said, “I stopped to get my car seat checked because it’s important to me since I have a 2-year-old grandson I tend, and he’s in my car every day. I wanted to make sure that it was installed correctly and that I know what I’m doing when it comes to my family.” 

Scott Jerome, a physical therapist at Shriners Hospital, decided to become an instructor for child passenger safety. He’s just one of many health professionals who earned a car seat safety technician certifications and was out at this event checking vehicles for car seat safety. A total of 38 vehicles were checked that day. 

“The reason I got into this is because I really don’t like going to fatal calls with children involved when they could have been prevented,” Winkler said. “Our hope is that the caregivers in every one of these vehicles that are here today leave feeling like their kids are riding safely. Each is one less child that I have to worry about being seriously injured or killed. I don’t want to go out there issuing tickets for improper use. I’d rather teach parents what is wrong and how to fix it to avoid all the heartbreak that comes with losing a child in a car accident.”