Loomis firefighters help keep kids buckled up right

Instruction offered through Buckle-up-Baby Program
By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
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It’s the law. Children under 6 years of age or under 60 pounds must be in a child safety seat while riding in a vehicle. And, the safety seat must be installed properly in order to do its job. That’s where the Buckle-up-Baby Program, recently started by the Loomis Fire Protection District, comes in. “This is an educational service,” said engineer Andy Portillo, a spokesman for the fire district. “Loomis Fire is not an installation service. The individual who comes in will receive a hands-on-demonstration on how to safely and properly install their own CSS,” he explained. Last Thursday morning, Jennifer LaPenna received some hands-on instruction from engineer Daniel Justus. “We do it for community outreach,” said Justus. After checking the seat’s condition and for recall notices, with the help of firefighter Jake Summers and Ben Holland, a student firefighter, Justus showed LaPenna how to properly install the seat before he had her repeat the installation process on her own. A tightly installed seat is a properly installed seat, said Justus, as he showed LaPenna how to tighten the seat belt under the seat while she used her knee to apply pressure. The goal is to eliminate the rocking of the restrained seat. “It’s great to be able to come out and have them check that your child is safe when you’re driving,” said LaPenna, mother of 4-year-old Natalie. “You want to know how to reinstall the seat when you do take it out,” she added. The Loomis Fire installers have taken a 40-hour class through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to become nationally certified. The instruction takes about 30 to 45 minutes, Portillo said. The child who uses the seat must be present and individuals must have their own car seat. Some seats may be available for those unable to provide one due to financial reasons. The free service is by appointment, available from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, a safety check can be provided if a safety check is needed more urgently. “We want all children riding in the vehicles to be safe as possible at all times,” Portillo said. To make an appointment, call 652-6858 or visit the fire station, located at the corner of Horseshoe Bar Road and Magnolia