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Buckling down

POSTED: January 19, 2012 6:18 p.m.
Photo by Pat Donahue/

Master Trooper Henry Gilliard checks on the installation of a car seat.

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Georgia State Patrol troopers and Effingham County Sheriff’s deputies were kept busy Wednesday afternoon — for reasons they liked.

Law enforcement officers, along with staff from the health department, conducted a car seat safety check Wednesday afternoon at the Rincon Lowe’s, and cars began lining up an hour before the event started.

“They told us people started showing up at 2 p.m.,” said Effingham Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie. “It’s a really good turnout.”

Lisa Hutcheson got the safety seats for her children, Makaila, 3, and Kiera, 7 months, checked out and installed properly.

“It’s meant life or death to me,” she said. “I’m always worried about car accidents with them.”

Hutcheson also was happy to have the opportunity to have her car seats checked and to be shown how to secure them.

“I think it’s awesome that they would donate their time. I learned so much,” she said.

Added Monica Curtis, who had her children Marvin, age 6, and Micah, 6 months, along: “It’s very important and helpful as well.”

Deputies and troopers trained in installing car seats worked closely with parents throughout the afternoon, showing them how to best position their seats and how to fasten them safely.

“A lot of people get the seat, put it in the car, strap it in and they think, ‘OK, everything’s hunky-dory. It’s all perfect now,’” McDuffie said. “If you don’t put it on right, it’s not going to work right. In a crash situation, you want that child in that seat buckled in right.”

As an example, McDuffie pointed to a recent accident on Blue Jay Road where a child was in a properly-installed car safety seat, and the child was not hurt in the wreck.

“Had he not been in appropriately, he could have been hurt really bad,” the sheriff said.

The sheriff said he was glad to be able to have an event like this.

“Kids are the innocents; they’re the unprotected. It’s our job to get out and protect them,” McDuffie said. “If you don’t know what you’re doing with the seat belts and the car seats, you can put it in wrong and have it not do what it’s supposed to do.”

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