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Crime Prevention

The Hagerstown City Police have collected several articles and published several brochures on crime prevention and safety.

Child Passenger Safety:  It's safe - It's practical - In Maryland, it's also the law.

  • All children under age four regardless of weight; and those under forty pounds regardless of age must be secured in a federally-approved child safety seat.
  • All children under age sixteen must be secured in either a child safety seat or a seatbelt in all positions of the vehicle.
  • All vehicle occupants must be secured in a seatbelt. As of October 1, 1997, not wearing a seatbelt is a primary offense.
  • A child younger than sixteen years may not ride in an unenclosed cargo bed of a pick-up truck.
  • Child car seats involved in a crash must be destroyed and replaced.

Child Safety Seats

Installing a Child Safety Seat:

  1. Read the safety seat instructions and the vehicle owner's manual.
  2. Understand it is the lap belt that must hold the seat in tightly.
  3. Consisder if you need a locking clip, a heavy duty locking clip, or a twist in the belt.
  4. When tightening the seat belt, kneel in the safety seat to push it down and back into the vehicle seat.

Installing a Locking Clip (lap / shoulder belt / free-sliding latchplate):

  1. Pull the seat belt through the proper slots in safety seat and buckle.
  2. Kneel into the safety seat to compress the vehicle seat cushion.
  3. Pull on the shoulder portion of the belt to tighten the lap portion.
  4. Hold the lap and shoulder pieces together.
  5. Unbuckle the seat belt while still holding the pieces together.
  6. Weave both seat belt pieces under all four hoods of the locking clip, near the belt's latchplate.
  7. Rebuckle the seat belt.  If it is tight enough, the latchplate should just barely reach the buckle.

Child Safety Seat Distribution Programs in Washington County:

If you are in need of a child safety seat but cannot afford one, if you have a child with special needs, or if you need a 'loaner' for a short period of time, try contacting one of these agencies for assistance:

Children's Village of Washington County and the Hagerstown Police Department
Seats: Century toddler convertible
Program Type: Loaner (deposit preferred with partial refund upon return)
Eligibility: Anyone
Contact: Marsha Tidler, 301-733-4443

Easter Seals Society
Seats: Specializing in special needs and infant, to convertible and booster
Program Type: Loaner
Eligibility: Anyone
Contact: Mary Hutton, 301-745-3828

Safe Kids
Seats: Toddler convertible, booster seats
Program Type: No cost
Eligibility: Income based guidelines equivalent to WIC, Medical Assistance, or other public assistance programs
Contact: Beth Kirkpatrick
Washington County Hospital
301-790-8950

Washington County Health Department
Seats: Toddler convertible, booster seats
Program Type: No cost
Eligibility: Any public assistance
Contact: Earl Stoner, 301-790-7947

All programs require participants to receive short instruction sessions. Seat availability varies with each program.

Top Ten Simple Safety Steps for Children On The Go

  1. Safety belts should always be buckled, whether a child is in a motor vehicle or on an airplane.
  2. Young children should always be properly secured in child safety seats.
  3. Children on bikes should always wear helmets.
  4. Children should stop at the curb, look left, right, and left again before crossing the road. At intersections, they should pay special attention to turning vehicles.
  5. Children should never play on or near railroad tracks.
  6. Children should always wear life jackets when boating or around water.
  7. Children should always be visible when walking or biking. They should wear light, brightly-colored clothing. At night, they should wear markers that reflect light.
  8. When riding on an escalator, children should stand facing forward, always hold the handrail and never touch the sides or sit on the stairs.
  9. No one, especially a child, should ever ride in the bed of a pick-up truck.
  10. Children should never play near a subway platform edge or by the curb at a bus stop.

Air Bag Safety

  1. Children twelve and under should ride buckled up in a rear seat.
  2. Infants should NEVER ride in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger side air bag.
  3. Small children should ride in child safety seats approved for their age and size.
    Check your vehicle owner's manual and the instructions provided with your child safety seat for correct use information.
  4. Everyone should buckle up with both lap AND shoulder belts on every trip.
  5. Driver and front passenger seats should be moved as far back as practical, particularly for shorter statured people.

For more information:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/childps

National Safety Council
http://www.nsc.org/partners/pubedu.htm

National Safe Kids Campaign
http://www.safekids.org

Crime Prevention Links

National Crime Prevention Council

NCPC is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to help America prevent crime and build safer, stronger communities. We invite you to explore our On-Line Resource Center for useful information about crime prevention, community building, comprehensive planning, and even fun stuff for kids!

http://www.ncpc.org