Baldwin hosts training event to keep kids safe on the road

Vehicles in line to have their car seats inspected Tuesday afternoon at Baldwin Fire Department. (Jerry Neace/

The Baldwin Fire Department hosted a car seat safety check Tuesday afternoon in cooperation with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS). The event was part of a three-day training session from GOHS specifically addressing child safety seats.

Those who took the class performed 10 car seat safety checks as part of their hands-on training. According to city Baldwin Administrative Assistant John Dills, of those ten safety checks, five car seats were replaced.

Student and Cleveland police officer Shaka Cantrell installs a new car seat in a vehicle as part of his hands-on training. (Jerry Neace/

The class was attended by 14 public safety personnel. Agencies that were represented were fire departments in Baldwin, Cornelia, and McDonough and police departments in Lavonia, Cleveland, and Gainesville. The training was open to public safety personnel in the area.

“The objective is to make sure that children that are out there riding around in vehicles are properly seated, belted in, and in the right car seat,” said Baldwin Fire Chief Joe Roy. He added, “Make sure that the car seats are not out of date or have not been in a car wreck.” Roy was also a student in the training.

Those who needed them got free car seats. The new seats were provided by the cities of Alto and Baldwin. In preparation for future events such as this, Roy said he intends to apply for a state grant that provides funding for new car seats.

A replacement was issued if the car seat was out of date and no longer met current safety standards and guidelines, the car seat was involved in an automobile accident, or the car seat in use did not fit the child properly.

Brianna Ayers from Hall County discusses with student-Gainesville police officer Jameson Tate details about the new car seat she received. (Jerry Neace/

A grateful Brianna Ayers from Hall County received a new car seat.

“I think they are doing a good thing for kids and keeping them safe. They got my baby safe, and they did a wonderful job, and I appreciate it,” she said.

Roy said he was skeptical before the training.

“If you think you know everything about a car seat, you don’t until you take this class. When they said it was a three-day class, I’m like, what are you going to talk about for 8 hours a day for three days on a car seat?” He added, “It’s that intense, knowing every piece of that car seat and how it works.”

There are many variables related to something as simple as a car seat. Roy pointed out that you have to figure out what fits the child and what fits the vehicle. Every time a new car comes out, they don’t make a car seat for that particular vehicle. You have to ensure that the manufacturer accepts a particular car seat and vice versa. The technical issues go deeper than most parents are aware. Roy stated, “There’s a lot to it.”

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