VERONA – Ollie Otter had a message for students at Verona Elementary on Tuesday: “You otter buckle up!”
Using its seat belt safety mascot Ollie, Mississippi Safety Services made a stop in Verona to promote the importance of wearing seat belts properly and using booster seats for children.
Lee County Justice Court Judge Ricky Thompson and Kay Brodbeck with Mississippi Safety Services put together the event and are traveling all over the state to teach children.
Mississippi Safety Services traditionally teaches defensive driving courses across the state, but Brodbeck said the agency has another emphasis – decreasing brain injuries for children involved in car accidents.
“It is just as important for children to understand seat belt safety as parents,” said Brodbeck. “Sometimes a parent may forget to buckle a child up, so we need it to become second nature to the child.”
Under a new state law, children from ages 4 to 7 who weigh less than 65 pounds and are shorter than 4 feet 9 inches are required to be in a booster seat.
Brodbeck said even though children were restrained by seat belts, they still suffered head injuries in car wrecks because seat belts were too loose. Booster seats alleviate that problem.
“The booster seat raises the child higher so the seat belt fits tighter, making it much safer for the child,” said Brodbeck.
Thompson said children are never too young to learn safety.
“I feel like teaching them early and often helps them to retain the information better,” Thompson said, “and this is some important information for everyone.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal