We interviewed our in-house safety expert, Bethany Reel Lovings, about her passion for child safety and her best safety tip for parents.
BETHANY, TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF?
MY name is Bethany Reel Lovings and I am Tot Squad’s in-house Child Passenger Safety Advocate and Operations Manager.
WHAT IS A CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY ADVOCATE?
My role is to educate both our staff and parents on all matters involving car seat safety. I attend conventions, webinars and am active in the child safety community in order to stay up to date on new legislation, recalls, safety updates and product technology. It’s a lot to keep up with, but the greatest challenge is keeping families informed and helping them to understand what these changes may mean for them.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME INVOLVED IN CHILD SAFETY?
I attended the University of Wisconsin where I received my degree in Community Health Education/Public Health. I always knew I wanted to be in the health field and help people. I also knew that I wanted to have children at a fairly young age, so I needed to find a career that afforded some flexibility. I began looking into preventative health. Through my coursework I found the population that I was most passionate about...children!
During a joint internship through American Family Children's Hospital Madison/Safe Kids Madison/Kohls’ Safety Center I had the opportunity to learn about multiple specialties within child safety, but I elected to take the Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) course and become certified under the guidance of the best CPSTs in the nation. Afterwards, I worked with numerous local community organizations and I found that no matter what socioeconomic class a family fell under, their child passenger safety education was lacking. I decided that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of families, to help keep those little ones safe, as unintentional injuries are the number one cause of death in children under 2 years old. All of this can be prevented with education; that's what I am here for :).
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE FUTURE?
I would like to become a Child Passenger Safety Instructor. This will help me pass on my skills to young technicians getting started in the field…and hopefully inspire more "safety nerds"!
I will be starting my family this August with our first child. Many parents of young children tend to follow their friends when determining when to turn the car seat around or to transition into a booster. My goal is to be that mom who can help educate other moms to keep those kids rear-facing longer, in a 5-point harness until they outgrow it, and not in a booster until they can pass the 5 step test!
WHEN IS THE BABY DUE? BOY OR GIRL?
I am due August 28th and we opted to be surprised.
BEST SAFETY TIP FOR PARENTS?
Be confident! Whether it is in buckling your child up or moving them to a different car seat. Do research and talk to professionals to help you make a decision. Once you have done the work, stick to your decision. Often times, new parents get influenced by family or friends to change their decision regarding child passenger safety. Don't fall to the peer pressure; be confident in your educated decision.