The Lake Placid Police Department and the Lake Placid Elks have partnered to help keep our kids safe on the road. Last Saturday volunteers with the Elks assisted with paperwork, while certified car seat fitters accurately installed car seats in the vehicles of Highlands County parents who wanted to help ensure their children’s safety.

“The Elks National Foundation has grants available to local Elks Lodge locations to help with community needs,” said Marge Holbrook, Lake Placid Elks Lodge. “We partner each year with the Lake Placid Police Department in providing those families with a car seat who can’t afford to purchase one themselves.

“With this grant, the seats are furnished to families who have called the police department requesting help.”

“The Elks apply for the grant and I purchase the seats from our Sebring Walmart,” said Sargent Mostyn Mullins with the Lake Placid Police Department. “The manager there offers a lot of help and community support.”

Mullins distributes some of the seats on his own with the rest being offered through the Elks Community event each year. He is the only certified instructor in Highlands County for car seat fitting.

It is very important that the car seat is not only installed in a parent’s vehicle but that it is also correctly fitted. If not, it could affect the child’s safety.

He had two certified seat fitters with him at the event. Sarah Roane (Heartland for Children) and Mitzi Davis. April Haught (Heartland for Children, Relicensing Program Director) was also there.

Kinjonah Coston came to get his daughter, Kaliyah Coston, a new car seat. “I’m doing it for the safety of my child.”

Jaylin Beers came with her mom and also got a new car seat. She was all smiles.

“We do a lot of education with each fitting,” said Roane. “It can take 30-60 minutes between assessing the vehicle, type of seat needed and educating the parent. These steps are very important.” Roane was working off a detailed checklist to ensure all information was discussed.

Volunteers from the Elks assisted with collecting information from the families and recording which car seat they received. This information stays with the police department in case there is a recall.

There were three different sizes of car seats available: infant (5-22 pounds), convertible (5-40 pounds) and high back booster (30-100 pounds).

“We do this every September as that is Child Passenger Safety Month,” said Mullins.

According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), “Nearly half of all car seats are installed incorrectly, which means your child may not be traveling as safely as possible.

“Car seats and boosters are one of the easiest ways to keep your child safe and, when installed correctly, car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers.”

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