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Marshall student saving lives, one car seat at a time

The Parthenon

Published: Friday, January 25, 2013

Updated: Friday, January 25, 2013 13:01

A report from the Word Health Organization said nearly 1 million children die from unintentional injuries every year–traffic accidents being the biggest killer. Beau Evans and Larry Kendall are working to decrease that number.

Beau Evans, senior science education major, and Larry Kendall, administrator of the Highway Safety Program, seek to educate and demonstrate the proper way to install children’s car seats.

Properly installing car seats requires that the seat be level, secure and that it be the right size for the child.

“As an administrative assistant here at the Highway Safety Program and a future educator, it is my job to have a positive influence on the community and to make it safer,” Evans said.

Kendall and Evans installed 537 car seats last year. Many of the car seat installations were for frustrated parents seeking help.

“There are complexities to car seats. They can be very confusing and frustrating with various straps and latches,” Kendall said. “We are here to help ease those concerns and answer questions. Hopefully we save lives in the case of an accident.”

Chris and Jane Wasserman, who are expecting their first child this month, said they contacted the Highway Safety Program office when their car seat would not sit level in their car. After some research and experimenting, Evans and Kendall were able to solve the Wasserman’s problem.

“Our daughter is going to be my number one priority and concern when traveling in the car. I came here to learn how to make it as safe as possible for her,” Jane Wasserman said. “I think all parents should learn the proper way to install their children’s seats because in a car accident, parents have so much to lose.”

There are consequences for parents who do not use car seats properly and police officers can pull cars over for improper use of child restraints. However, the biggest consequence is the injury or death of a child.

“It doesn’t take a very large crash to kill your child,” Kendall said. “The forces of an accident may not hurt you, but can seriously injure your child because they are smaller and less developed.”

Evans hopes educating parents will help keep children and parents safe.

“We hope this will encourage parents to buckle up too,” Kendall said. “This way, we can educate and protect the child and their parents in one setting.”

Evans plans to continue to work with parents to ensure child safety and loves the fulfillment his profession brings.

“I want to save lives,” Evans said. “Here at my job, I am already changing and potentially saving lives. It is a great feeling at the end of the day to know I am putting a dent in the number of child deaths and injuries.”

All car seat installations are free to the public and those interested or concerned about their child’s safety in a vehicle are encouraged to contact the Highway Safety Program office at 304-696-5545.

Josie Landgrave can be contacted at

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