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County included in grant for child safety

By By Mary-Allison Lancaster Managing editor
Twelve southeast Alabama counties were awarded $25,000 in an attempt to encourage motorists in the state to properly buckle up their child passengers, a state news release said.
In an attempt to promote child passenger safety, Gov. Bob Riley headed a project which would increase the use of child restraints in vehicles in 12 counties, including Escambia County.
According to the news release, the funding will be used to certify law enforcement officers, emergency personnel, health educators, childcare workers and others as a child passenger safety technicians.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will administer the grant, and notified Ronald C. Owen, SAMC chief executive officer on Jan. 31 the grant had been approved.
ADECA Director John Harrison notified Northwest Shoals President Humphrey Lee the grant had been approved. The news release states that the grant will fund the installation of child restraint fitting stations to be established and equipped across the 10-county region.
According to the news release, law enforcement officers, emergency personnel, health educators, childcare workers and others will receive certification training as a child passenger safety technicians.
The technicians will be qualified to demonstrate the correct way to install and use child restraints.
The Department of Public Health reported the use of child restraints in the state dropped by 4 percent in 2004.
According to Sheriff Grover Smith, if passengers and drivers are not wearing a seatbelt, it results in a $10 fine, mandated by the legislature. Several officers have already been trained to demonstrate how to properly install a child seat. Smith added "it is amazing how many are installed incorrectly."