Trooper DeShawn Brown assists Springfield family Jill, Shane and Declan with the installation of the new car seat at a May 7 community event at the Massachusetts State Police Barracks on Liberty Street.
Reminder Publishing photo by Bill Zito

SPRINGFIELD — In the first of a series of scheduled community events geared toward motor vehicle safety, troopers with the Massachusetts State Police invited members of the community to their Springfield Barracks on Liberty Street for a free childcare seat inspection and installation program.

Springfield residents Jill and Shane brought their son Declan with them to the May 7 event so trooper DeShawn Brown could go over the proper installation and safety tips for Declan’s new car seat.

“He just turned a year old and we are switching him from his bucket car seat to a rear facing one,” Jill said. “We were about to do it ourselves and we saw the posting for this and we said, ‘Why not let the pros do it?’”

rooper Casey Boyle answers questions from community members during a May 7 car seat installation/inspection event at the Massachusetts State Police Barracks on Liberty Street.
Reminder Publishing photo by Bill Zito

Shane said while they do feel comfortable driving with Declan in the car, they always want to be safe and they appreciate the opportunity to take advantage of a community event that’s also close to home.

The couple also said they received some reassurance that they had chosen correctly when selecting their car seats.

“[Brown] said we picked a good car seat so that was helpful,” Jill said while Shane added that the infant version they are switching from is also good for another five years in case they want to use it for another child in the future.

Trooper Casey Boyle worked his way down the line of cars, answering questions from drivers who pulled up in the parking lot, while teaming with Brown to get the seat in the rear of Huntington resident Darlene’s SUV installed properly.

“I just want to make sure that it is as safe as I can get it,” Darlene said. “My 4-year-old grandson is going to be sitting there.”

Evelyn Rodriguez from Springfield said she was looking forward to the event since she learned about it, because she has a grandchild that she often transports in her car.

“It’s been a while since I had mine and I found it so complicated when I bought a new car seat,” she said.

Rodriguez pointed to the rear of her car where she was recently struck by a hit and run driver. Luckily, she said her grandchild was not in the car at the time but now she doesn’t want to take chances.

“It’s something I don’t want to play with, “she said.

Statistics outlining the nearly 600 child passengers who died in traffic crashes in 2022 nationwide detail not only cases of unrestrained but also children who were inadequately restrained at the time of the crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers in passenger cars and 58% and 59%, respectively, for those traveling in light trucks.

The State Police will be providing additional programs in Greenfield, Cheshire and Northampton during the month of May. Members of the community can also make an appoint for inspection/installation assistance outside of the scheduled events by calling the MSP Traffic Programs Section at 774-462-3766.

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