Anyone that knows me knows that I am passionate about keeping our children safe in the vehicle! Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the national CPS certification program and become a nationally certified child passenger safety technician. This was the first time the course was offered in our area and I jumped at the chance to get involved. I’ve known for well over a year that I wanted to become a CPST, but things like arranging child-care, finding a class, the long drive, $$ for a hotel, etc. got in the way and I had decided to put it off until my children were older. Things fell into place thanks to another passionate friend and now I am a North Alabama Child Passenger Safety Technician.
I went into the CPS class well researched and informed, but I learned so much. The class was 3 days long and packed with information and skills testing. The first day of class, I broke down in tears as we talked about the importance of seatbelt usage and my mind instantly went to Kolby. It was embarrassing for me to be that vulnerable in front of so many people I didn’t know, but he is part of my inspiration. For me, this about so much more than keeping our little ones safe. It’s about teaching them best practices in hopes that they will always be as safe as possible in the vehicle not just now, but when they are grown and in the driver’s seat. Just as we teach our little ones to brush their teeth daily, it is our job to teach to them to buckle up each and every time.
One of my main takeaways from the class was that the decision is always the parent and/or caregivers. My job is to educate them on the laws and the AAP guidelines and allow them to make that decision, even if it isn’t one I necessarily agree with. This can be hard when I’ve read the research and watched the crash test videos, but even if a child doesn’t leave a check as safe as possible, they must leave safer than they arrived. Will I mention extended rear-facing and the benefits? Absolutely, but I will respect the parent’s decision.
Another thing I learned was that child passenger safety technicians are not a carseat installation service. Part of the job is to educate the parents and teach them how to install their carseat properly. I had wondered about this before, so it was great to see it clarified. The parent and/or caregiver should be the last person to install the carseat.
Our student manuals are 14 chapters long, so I could never sum up the entire class in one post. I’ll close by saying that I’m so grateful for the opportunity to attend and thankful for a fabulous team of instructors led by Mike James. Mike is also the man behind CPSalabama.org which is packed with education and information. If you ever have to chance to take a class with him, do it!
North Alabama Child Passenger Safety Technician
Whitney Baugh – T716680
Serving DeKalb, Jackson, & Marshall Counties
e-mail me at whitney.baugh(at)yahoo.com to set up an appointment or for more information
Please add “CPST” in the subject line.
When meeting with any CPST, please have your vehicle and carseat manuals available.
To find a technician or instructor in your area, visit the SafeKids website.
Have general child safety questions?
Ask here and I will answer in a later post!