NLMA provides a safe ride home for province's newborns



    ST. JOHN'S, Dec. 19 /CNW/ - Physicians in Newfoundland and Labrador have
been providing a safer ride home for newborns at hospitals around the province
for more than 20 years. Again this year, the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical
Association will present an infant car seat to the first baby born in 2008 in
each of the province's 12 hospitals that perform deliveries.
    NLMA President Dr. Joseph Tumilty said the intent of the NLMA's car seat
program is to encourage all parents to use approved car seats for their
children right from the moment they leave hospital as newborns. To date, more
than 250 car seats have been presented to families of newborns.
    "The proper use of child safety seats, from the first ride home from the
hospital until the child is big enough to use a regular seatbelt, has been
proven to be one of the most successful safety innovations for motor
vehicles," said Dr. Joseph Tumilty.
    "The only safe way to keep small children protected in cars is with
infant carriers, child seats and booster car seats."
    Every year in this province, more than 70 children are seriously injured
in motor vehicle accidents. In 2005, the NLMA released a position paper in
partnership with the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Health Association, the
Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador and Kids in Safe
Seats Inc., calling on government to upgrade its child booster seat
legislation.
    The paper, entitled Child Passenger Safety in Newfoundland and Labrador,
recommended mandatory legislation to ensure that children between ages four
and eight, weighing between 40 and 80lbs and a standing height of less than
145 cm (4.7 feet), be properly secured in booster seats in the back seat of a
vehicle.
    In this age group, booster seats are the safest way to position a seat
belt correctly over a child's body. When a child is restrained properly in a
booster seat, which is appropriate to their height and weight, they are much
less likely to suffer serious injury or die in the event of a crash.
    On June 7, 2007, government responded by amending the recommendations to
the Highway Traffic Act. The requirements will be brought into effect on June
7, 2008. Specifically, the legislation will require all children to be in a
booster seat while they are being transported in a car, passenger truck, taxi,
vehicles used by day cares and school contract vehicles.
    The Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association applauds the new
provincial legislation and says it will help prevent crash-related deaths and
serious injuries to young passengers in up to three-quarters of all accidents.
    "Children aged four to eight often graduate too soon to seat belts,
increasing their risk of injuries, disability and death. The new booster
legislation will ensure that parents pay closer attention to how they place
their child in the seat and ensure the seats are being used as they were
designed," said Dr. Tumilty, adding that the safest place for children under
12 years of age is in the back seat of the vehicle, away from dangers such as
front-on collisions and front-seat airbags.
    The NLMA would like to acknowledge the retailers who generously donated
seats for the babies born in their communities, in particular, Wal-Mart stores
in Carbonear, Clarenville, Corner Brook, Gander, Grand Falls-Windsor,
Labrador City, Marystown, Stephenville and St. John's West - Kelsey Dr. store
for the Health Sciences Centre, St. John's East - Aberdeen Ave. store for
Curtis Memorial Hospital in St. Anthony and the Mount Pearl store for LeGrow
Health Care Centre in Port-aux-Basques, along with Goose Sales (Home Hardware)
in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Eastern Express and Sameday-Right-O-Way
couriers, who shipped the seats to St. Anthony and Port-aux-Basques.




For further information:

For further information: Dawn Mason, Assistant, Communications & Public
Affairs, (709) 726-7424, ext. 309, Toll free: 1-800-563-2003 (309),
dmason@nlma.nl.ca

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NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

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