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Seat belt safety lessons in Parkston

PARKSTON -- Parkston Elementary School students learned Thursday morning what shoes and seat belts have in common. During a presentation sponsored by the high school's Family Career and Community Leaders of America group, state officials spent th...

Parkston High School Family Career and Community Leaders of America members Ragen Weber, left, and Spencer Albrecht demonstrate the proper way to wear a seat belt on Thursday morning. (Caitlynn Peetz/Republic)
Parkston High School Family Career and Community Leaders of America members Ragen Weber, left, and Spencer Albrecht demonstrate the proper way to wear a seat belt on Thursday morning. (Caitlynn Peetz/Republic)

PARKSTON - Parkston Elementary School students learned Thursday morning what shoes and seat belts have in common.

During a presentation sponsored by the high school's Family Career and Community Leaders of America group, state officials spent the morning highlighting the importance of correct seat belt usage among children, using various demonstrations and presentations. One of those demonstrations hit home with students, as a high school student and a third-grade student were asked to exchange shoes and attempt to walk a short distance.

It didn't go well.

"Like shoes, if you don't have a seat belt that fits, you're not getting the right protection," said Eric Majeres, with Volunteers of America, Dakotas. "If you're shorter than 4-foot-9, you need a booster seat, and there's nothing wrong with that. Seat belts are made for adults."

The presentation was given to first- through third-graders in the Parkston School District, following a presentation by the South Dakota Highway Patrol to high school students on Wednesday. Both events were part of four Family Career and Community Leaders of America members' initiative to promote seat belt usage and reduce the number of traffic fatalities as a result of not wearing seat belts.

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In November, four Parkston students - eighth-graders Ragen Weber and Spencer Albrecht, and seventh-graders Jackie Braley and Abby Hohn - were chosen to attend training in Washington, D.C., to learn how to promote their goal, and have been hard at work since, scheduling events like this week's.

The most important facet of Thursday's lessons was to ensure young students understand there is no shame in using a booster seat, even if other children their age no longer need to. Instead, booster seats are simply a tool, like shoes, to promote safety, said Diane Hall, with the South Dakota Emergency Medical Service for Children.

"This is not a baby seat, it's a tool that lets the seat belt do its job of keeping your bottom in the seat in case of a crash," Hall said.

Majeres was quick to add that it's important for parents to remember seat belts, if used correctly, can save their children's lives in a crash.

Warning signs for improper placement of a seat belt include the belt resting on the child's stomach or slipping up to their necks. If worn correctly, seat belts should rest snugly over the child's collarbone and low on their hips, Majeres said.

"This stuff is so important, and I know sometimes, for parents, it's easier to just say, 'Whatever, just put your seat belt on,' and don't check it, but those extra steps can be a life saver," Majeres said. "You have to keep your kids buckled in the right way."

Eric Majeres, with Volunteers of America, Dakotas uses a Parkston third-grade student to demonstrate the proper way to wear a seat belt on Thursday morning at the Parkston school while Family Career and Community Leaders of America members Spencer Albrecht and Ragen Weber look on. (Caitlynn Peetz/Republic)
Eric Majeres, with Volunteers of America, Dakotas uses a Parkston third-grade student to demonstrate the proper way to wear a seat belt on Thursday morning at the Parkston school while Family Career and Community Leaders of America members Spencer Albrecht and Ragen Weber look on. (Caitlynn Peetz/Republic)

Related Topics: EDUCATIONPARKSTON
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