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Tampa Child Safety Fair Huge Success

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FHP partners with 21st Century Insurance and TV Star Erik Estrada for a special Child Safety Fair in Tampa.
FHP partners with 21st Century Insurance and TV Star Erik Estrada
for a special Child Safety Fair at University Mall in Tampa.

On June 9, 2007, in Tampa, FHP teamed up with 21st Century Insurance to hold a special Child Safety Fair to promote the use of child safety seats among Central Florida motorists. At the event, FHP and Auxiliary troopers, 21st Century Insurance Representative, Joyce Prager, and a crew of volunteers and support staff worked for hours in the heat to educate parents and grandparents on the proper installation and use of child safety seats. The news media was especially helpful in publicizing the event and bringing the message to the public to help raise awareness about the importance of buckling up children in proper child seats in vehicles.

Lucky participants and attendees at the Child Safety Fair were able to shake hands or get hugs and autographs from TV star Erik Estrada, who played the character Ponch, a motorcycle officer, on the popular television show CHiPs (California Highway Patrol) in the late 1970’s. Estrada, a father himself, and strong safety advocate for children, works all over the United States to encourage the public to use properly installed child seats to help ensure their children’s safety on our nation’s roadways. Estrada and FHP’s Occupant Protection Team Coordinator Kim Jones spoke on a local TV station to parents about the critical need for child seats to be properly installed and for parents to ensure their children ride properly restrained in child seats every time they get into their vehicles.

FHP motor troopers pose for photo with Estrada.
FHP motor troopers pose for photo with Estrada.

Kim Jones provides instructions in English while Erik Estrada translates into Spanish for this parent of a small child.
FHP’s Kim Jones provides instructions in English while Erik Estrada translates into Spanish for this parent of a small child.

Under the capable direction of Public Affairs Officer Trooper Larry Coggins, Occupant Protection Specialist Trooper Reggie Edwards, and FHPA Lt. Nancy Newbould, FHP’s team of Nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians that included members from GHQ, Troop D and Troop F, did a phenomenal job assisting the public with their child restraint needs. Despite the oppressive heat in the parking lot of the University Mall, CPS technicians worked hard to help each person who showed up. Cars were lined up everywhere with parents patiently waiting to get their children’s child seats inspected by the experts. Child seats that were recalled, too old, defective, or inappropriate for the children were replaced with brand new child seats, free of charge, compliments of traffic safety partner 21st Century Insurance.

LtoR:  Trooper Reggie Edwards, Trooper Larry Coggins and FHPA Lt. Nancy Neubault
Trooper Reggie Edwards, Trooper Larry Coggins, and
FHPA Lt. Nancy Neubault did an excellent job organizing the event.

In all, six FHP CPS technicians inspected 125 child seats, distributed 83 new seats, and removed 30 defective seats that had to be destroyed because they were unsafe for use. Several of the seats that had been used were cracked and missing important parts. Many child seats that were inspected were improperly installed by parents, including one in which the parents had not used the seat belt to secure the seat to the vehicle, but opted to use bungee cords instead.

Sleeping baby safely buckled up. This child smiling and  happily buckled up..
Over 100 children left the event safe and happily buckled up.

Thanks to the efforts of Troopers Kim Miller, Wanda Diaz, and Lucy Papp who traveled to Tampa from their home troops to help out, the event was a huge success. The heavily publicized event drew a large crowd, gained lots of media attention for the cause, and provided a valuable public service to the community. Thanks gain to our partners in traffic safety--21st Century Insurance and Erik Estrada-- for their generous support of our child safety efforts in Florida. A great big THANK YOU for everyone who participated in this important CPS event. You are all greatly appreciated for your hard work and dedication!

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