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Child passenger safety training offered in Spanish

By Dan Rahn
University of Georgia

Used properly, safety seats save children's lives. The University of Georgia has been teaching technicians to help people use child safety seats right for 20 years. But all of those trainings have been in English.

This fall, for the first time in Georgia and only the third time in the United States, they'll offer one in Spanish.

UGA's Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute, a Cooperative Extension Service program funded by a Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety grant, will conduct the four-day CPS technician training in Spanish at its training center in Conyers, Ga., Sept. 20-23.

"There have been two pilot trainings like this in Texas," said GTIPI Director Steve Davis. "We don't know whether this one will be identified as the third pilot or the first official training."

Clear need

With the first-time training, the planners are concerned about getting enough qualified participants. The need, though, is clear to Marilu Montalvo, a bilingual GTIPI child passenger safety trainer. A member of the National Child Passenger Safety Board, Montalvo will be one of the instructors in the training.

Citing GTIPI traffic safety checks that have found a 90-percent to 100-percent misuse of child safety seats, Montalvo said the language barrier puts Latino or Hispanic families at particular risk.

"Many of these parents have never had one minute of safety training," she said. "Often it's hard just to get them to understand that (using child safety seats) is the law."

Who should come

The September training targets bilingual people who are motivated to help Spanish-speaking parents and children, she said. It's ideal for community-based educators, medical interpreters, health departments, community-based organizations and others who work with Latino families.

The college-level training isn't easy. Experts will use a 32-hour National Highway Traffic Safety Administration curriculum in Spanish to teach the knowledge and skills needed to become a nationally certified CPS technician.

Participants must pass a written test (100 multiple-choice questions) and hands-on skills assessment to get the national certification.

Instructors will cover:

  • The need for child passenger safety programs.
  • Relevant federal laws and safety standards.
  • Crash dynamics.
  • Vehicle occupant protection systems.
  • Choosing and using the right child restraint systems.
  • Installing child restraints correctly.
  • Dealing with misuse and compatibility issues.
  • Safety in other vehicles.
  • Organizing and coordinating occupant protection programs.
The cost is just $60, with a $30 rebate on successful completion and certification, and covers an English-Spanish glossary and other materials. But space is limited.

Along with the traffic safety focus, the training will provide terms for medical interpreting for nurses, therapists, neonatal units, labor-and-delivery staffs, pediatricians and birth center classes.

To learn more about the training, or to sign up, call Montalvo at 1-800-342-9819 or (678) 413-4289. Or e-mail her at

(Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

(Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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