WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Local emergency transporters are planning to accommodate smaller passengers with child-sized restraints thanks to a regional grant.

Washington County/Johnson City Emergency Medical Services (EMS) staff are training with an Ambulance Child Restraint made possible by a grant from the Northeast Tennessee Healthcare Preparedness Coalition. The grant used over $50,000 to place the new piece of equipment on every active ambulance from Hawkins County to Johnson County.

The devices are designed to immobilize and protect young patients on their way to and from care, and 68 are now in operation in the Tri-Cities area.

“They’re made for adults, so pediatrics or children aren’t very secure normally during transport.” Seth Smith, training chief of WC/JC EMS, said. “So this device will allow us to secure children anywhere from four pounds up to 110 pounds with this one system.”

The new system doesn’t just keep children from harming themselves. In the event of a crash, the restraints are designed to keep passengers safe as well.

“We don’t encounter pediatric patients that frequently, but when we do, we need a safe way to transport them or to secure them for transport,” Smith said. “And this device will allow us to do that.”