Buckle up for an education on car seat safety

Volunteers, emergency services and Safe Community Wood Buffalo work together to keep kids safe

As many as 80 percent of child safety restraints are not used or installed properly, according to Transport Canada.

Lesley Pearcey isn’t one to just repeat the statistics. She and her safety-minded colleagues in northern Alberta also do something about it.

Pearcey is the community engagement coordinator with Fort McMurray-based Safe Community Wood Buffalo. She’s been a car seat safety technician since she joined the organization six years ago—and has helped train 26 new volunteer technicians to date.

“Our mission is to make Wood Buffalo the safest region in Canada to live, work and play. And we’ve always emphasized car seat safety,” she says.

“We do have people attend our sessions after receiving a ticket for car seat safety, and many aren’t very happy about having to come to the session,” she adds, “but at the end, some of them are in tears because they weren’t aware of the danger they were putting their children in.”

“I’ve even had people write on feedback forms that they were grateful for receiving a ticket because they’ve now learned how to keep their child safe.”

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Pearcey’s group operates Buckle Up Wood Buffalo as part of Safe Community Wood Buffalo—inspecting car seats, offering volunteer training, hosting information sessions and working with emergency services. In 2018, over 300 car seats were inspected and over 100 parents and caregivers attended info sessions.

“Through Buckle Up Wood Buffalo, we run the Gift of Safety program, which purchases car seats for families who can’t necessarily afford them. We understand that car seats can be quite expensive and not everyone has the means to purchase one. We’ll happily supply car seats or booster seats for all the children in a family,” Pearcey explains.

“As car seat technicians, we always recommend using new car seats and not secondhand ones, as you never know the collision history,” she says.

At Enbridge, safety is our core value—the heart of everything we do. We’re proud to invest in local safety initiatives, and the organizations that keep people safe, in the communities near our projects and operations. Our recent $1,000 donation to Safe Community Wood Buffalo will help purchase more car seats for families, and support ongoing training sessions.

“Our incredible volunteers and local technicians, along with RCMP and all regional emergency services, have made amazing progress in car seat safety awareness,” says Pearcey.