Maryetta Public School offer car seat checkups, health events
CHAD HUNTER Reporter
02/27/2020 01:00 PM
Alex Gasca, 3, of Stilwell, gets fitted for a car seat at Maryetta Pre-School in Stilwell on Feb. 25. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
STILWELL — In an effort to educate parents on proper car seat safety, Maryetta Public School partnered with health-minded agencies for a two-hour “checkup” on Tuesday, Feb. 25.
The event, part of a larger health and wellness day at Maryetta, was organized after a pre-school pickup area was established earlier this year.
“We take them directly to their car,” Maryetta Counselor Diane Weston said. “And, throughout this whole process we realized very few people actually have car seats. Because of that, I called Safe Kids and the health department.”
The state and Delaware County health departments, along with Safe Kids Tulsa Area, assisted with car seat installation, operation and selection for the participants. Car seats were sold at a discount price for those who qualified.
“If they need one to purchase, they can purchase it on the spot for $10,” Weston said. “If they already have a car seat, then they can measure and make sure the car seats are fitted properly and safe for the kids.”
Whitney Jordan, of Stilwell, upgraded a seat for her 1-year-old daughter. She called the $10 price tag “a really good deal.”
Weston added that one of the event’s goals was to “make people aware of what the law is, the requirements and the safety of the kids.”
“We had so many kids coming through that were not in any kind of car seat at all,” she said. “We want them to at least be aware of the requirements.”
Nationally certified car seat installers were on hand to check car seats and answer questions.
“One thing that a lot of people I see don’t know is that car seats do have expiration dates,” said Austin Raska, rural Child Passenger Safety coordinator with Safe Kids Tulsa Area. “For a lot of car seats, the general rule of thumb is six years. The reason they have expiration dates is the plastic can deteriorate because car seats are in your car. So the heat and cold weather, just over time, they do expire like anything else. So it’s very good to know that expiration date and replace it whenever it’s expired.”
Safe Kids Tulsa Area is part of a larger nonprofit coalition dedicated to preventing childhood injuries.
“We work through a grant through the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office,” Raska said. “My job is to teach people about child passenger safety covering the eastern half of the state. So I do different trainings for fire departments, health departments, police departments and just the general public.”
The health and wellness day at Maryetta schools also included a daylong blood drive and other activities.
“Today has been all about engaging the family and the community,” said Carlene Yell, a Maryetta Public School administrator and project director. “We brought in the car seat safety and we gave away car seats today. We’ve done the blood drive. We’ve been very blessed with that. We had 96 donors. They said that was just like stupendous, that we went over the top.”
Later in the evening, the schools hosted CPR classes and representatives from Chain Breakers Coalition of Adair County, an organization created with the sole purpose of helping end prescription drug and alcohol abuse in teenagers and children.
“We try to fight against opioids and underage drinking,” Chain Breakers Prevention Specialist Zachary Self said. “We brought some beer goggles and they got to walk the line.”
The organization also gave away lock boxes for prescription medications.
Also on hand were representatives from the Indian Capital Technology Center.
“We were so glad to have them come over and talk about careers and things that families and students that are in high school could go and start doing to improve their lives,” Yell said. “Things that we want for all our students and families in Adair County to do.”
Chad Hunter has spent more than two decades in the newspaper industry as a reporter and editor in Arkansas, Oklahoma and his home state of Missouri. He began working for the Cherokee Phoenix in late ...