CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Within the week, HealthNet Aeromedical Services aircraft across West Virginia will be equipped with new ambulance child restraint kits designed for kids.

“Every day, somewhere across our system, we’re transporting critically ill children,” said Clinton Burley, CEO and president of HealthNet.

HealthNet is one of six agencies in West Virginia receiving the child ambulance restraints from the West Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services in collaboration with the West Virginia Healthcare Preparedness Program.

In addition to HealthNet, the other agencies are Air Evac, the Anthony Creek Volunteer Fire Department in Greenbrier County, the Logan Emergency Ambulance Service Authority, Cabell County EMS and the Burlington Volunteer Fire Department in Mineral County.

“Hopefully, in future years, we’ll be able to purchase more of these child safety restraints and get them to agencies across the state,” said Melissa Raynes, director of the West Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services.

“Statistically, when there is an ambulance crash there are more injuries and fatalities than in just a regular motor vehicle accident.”

The ambulance child restraints are adjustable to accommodate all kids weighing between four and 99 pounds.

“That’s pretty awesome because we’ve had other issues with some of the other restraint devices that just aren’t as good,” explained Thomas Reed, a HealthNet flight paramedic based in Beckley, during a Tuesday demonstration at CAMC Women and Children’s Hospital in Charleston.

Burley agreed.

“We can customize the fit for the individual child that we transported instead of trying, with the old technology, to make the equipment fit the child,” he said.

“This way it’s a perfect fit.”

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