Another five babies safe on our roads
By CLEOPATRA MURPHY
Freeport News Reporter
The Royal Bahamas Police Force Traffic Division donated five car seats to the Rand Memorial Hospital's maternity ward yesterday in support of the Public Hospitals Authority's (PHA) Safe Baby Initiative.
The campaign that was launched during the PHA's 13th anniversary celebration in July is geared at ensuring each baby born at the Rand Memorial Hospital goes home in a car seat.
Highlighting accident statistics, assistant superintendent of police Kenwood Taylor said Grand Bahama has recorded two traffic fatalities for the year and four in 2011, so the safety initiative is one that officers support.
"We the members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and by extension the Traffic Division support this initiative wholeheartedly and are committed to giving five infant car seats to the maternity ward at the Rand Memorial Hospital, which we feel will go a very long way in assisting five mothers and their infants upon being discharged from the hospital," he said.
Taylor said police officers have zero tolerance when it comes to seat belts and car seats.
He noted that all children under the age of five are required by law to be secured in a car seat in the rear of the vehicle and if the law is not adhered to, the driver of the vehicle faces a fine of $500 on summary conviction.
"If you have an infant in your vehicle and you are not equipped with a child safety seat, you can be issued a ticket right away in the amount of $100," he said.
Taylor added that officers are working diligently to ensure the public adheres to road safety laws and are expending all their efforts to minimize occurrences of traffic fatalities.
"We've been patrolling the school zones, we are ensuring that persons are wearing their seat belts - we are very pleased with the number of drivers and passengers - I would say it's about 97 to 98 percent of persons that are wearing their seat belts, so we are very, very pleased with that," he said.
Taylor added that the Road Traffic Division would render whatever assistance it can to the PHA.
Senior assistant hospital administrator Sherinette Norville-Smith, highlighting the Safe Baby campaign, said mothers were educated about the importance of using a car seat for their infants and the PHA is still promoting awareness.
She said since the program began it has yielded success.
"Since the launch, 98 percent of all babies being discharged from the Rand Memorial Hospital went home in a car seat or a baby carrier," Norville-Smith said.
She added that to ensure that all babies leave the facility with a car seat, an inter-sectorial approach is crucial.
"Two leading priority agencies, namely the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Public Hospitals Authority have deemed it necessary to educate, inform and bring awareness to the importance of wearing the proper restraints while in a moving vehicle," she said. "This preventative initiative we believe will reduce injury and most importantly save lives."
© 2012 The Freeport News