The Smithville Police Department is urging parents and caregivers to make sure their child safety seats are properly installed. The police department will have certified technicians available to provide free hands-on child safety seat inspections and advice from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 30th in the Wal-mart parking lot in Smithville.
Police Chief Randy Caplinger says "It's the responsibility of every single parent and caregiver out there to make sure their children are safely restrained, every trip, every time. We are urging everyone to get their child safety seats inspected. When it comes to the safety of a child, there is no room for mistakes."
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research, 8,959 lives have been saved from 1975 to 2008 by the proper use of child restraints. In 2008, among children under age 5 in passenger vehicles, an estimated 244 lives were saved by child restraint use (child safety seats and adult seat belts). Research shows that child restraints provide the best protection for all children up to age eight.
For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers can visit their local inspection stations and refer to the following 4 Steps for Kids guidelines that determine which restraint system is best suited to protect children based on age and size:
1. For the best possible protection keep infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. At a minimum, keep infants rear-facing until a minimum of age 1 and at least 20 pounds.
2. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats (at a minimum age 1 and at least 20 pounds) they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds)
3. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds), they should ride in booster seats, in the back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (usually at age 8 or when they are 4'9" tall)
4. When children outgrow their booster seats (usually at age 8 or when they are 4'9" tall) they can use the adult seat belt in the back seat, if it fits properly (lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest).
Remember: All children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat.
DeKalb County currently does not require homebuilders to adhere to any residential building codes, but that will change soon under the Tennessee Clean Energy Future Act.
County Mayor Mike Foster said DeKalb County had three options: to adopt the state requirements for enforcement of residential building codes; to adopt a plan of it's own and hire a building codes inspector; or to opt out altogether. The county commission, Monday night, voted to let the state enforce the codes. "We have the building codes on file, but we feel like we should let the state do it (enforce state required building codes) for a while and if building (construction) picks back up later we can look at it. But for now, we don't want to be in the building codes business. We'll let the state go ahead and initiate theirs", said Foster.
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"I think it's (building codes) a good thing, especially around the lake. If you see the horror stories of some contractors, the things they have done to some people, I think you'd agree it's a good thing to have some oversight to make sure the house is structurally correct. They'll tell them about things they can do to make homes more energy efficient and it will generally make the house be built to a certain level so that the person having the house built doesn't get ripped off. It'll be safer, more economical, and it will be a better built house", Foster added
This new state law calls for the adoption and enforcement of a residential building code to one-and two-family residences across the state. The State Fire Marshal Office's code enforcement program will begin in October. In the interim, the State will contract with code inspectors, establish a network of issuing agents where the construction permits can be obtained and finalize the process for payments.
Effective October 1st, the State Fire Marshal's Office will issue residential building permits using a system similar to the electrical inspection program that it presently operates. Owners and licensed contractors will obtain a construction permit from the local issuing agents. Inspectors will then inspect residences during construction to ensure code compliance.
Cities and counties that presently enforce a building code that is current within seven years (the 2003 or 2006 edition of the International Residential Code will qualify) can notify the State Fire Marshal's Office and continue local enforcement. Local codes may be more stringent than the state adopted code. Cities and counties may also choose to have no minimum one- and two-family residential building code and no inspections to ensure quality home construction by a two-thirds opt-out vote of their governing bodies (county commissions).
New State Fire Marshal's Office regulations adopt the 2009 International Residential Code and the 2006 International Energy Code. These building codes will only apply to new construction of residential structures. Nonresidential structures, such as out buildings and unattached garages, are not covered. Renovation of existing structures, no matter how extensive, is also not covered. Sprinkler requirements have not been adopted, although a city or county is free to adopt a sprinkler requirement.