2018 Technician of the Year

The National Child Passenger Safety Board is pleased to announce the 2018 Technician of the Year is Michael “Chris” Morris from Knightsdale, NC. Morris serves as a child passenger safety technician for the University of North Carolina/REX Healthcare system. After serving in the U.S. Army from 1970-1974, he joined the Raleigh Police Department in 1974. Four years in municipal law enforcement led to a transition to North Carolina’s State Highway Patrol in 1978. Morris served as a Trooper until retiring in 2003. In 1985, he became one of the first child passenger safety instructors in the nation, a program that resulted from the Safe Roads Act of 1985. His 33 years of work and experience in the CPS field predates the national standardized curriculum developed by NHTSA. “I have worked in areas where child passenger safety laws were not respected,“ Morris said. “After I left those areas, people began to respect the importance of child safety and use of car seats.” His passion for child passenger safety led him to establish a Child Passenger Safety program at UNC/REX Healthcare in 2003. Innovative programs such as “I Love U, Baby”─ an annual car seat check and educational event held on Valentine’s Day ─ contribute to community education for parents and caregivers. “I have always made myself available to parents and spent as much time as needed,” Morris said. “I want to make them feel confident that they have the knowledge to ensure their child will ride as safely as possible.”

Additional details about Chris and his dedication to child passenger safety can be found in the Technician of the Year press release.

2018 Instructor of the Year

The National Child Passenger Safety Board is pleased to announce the 2018 Instructor of the Year is Carina Ortiz of Bakersfield, CA. Ortiz works as the community relations specialist for the Bakersfield Police Department. One of the primary objectives of the unit is to educate the community on various ways citizens can protect themselves and their families. She was assigned to attend the Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Certification class in October of 2005, completing her certification while nine months pregnant with her first child. “After returning from the course, I was inspired to further involve our department in child passenger safety,” said Ortiz. “I started our first fitting station in January 2006. Since then, we have been able to certify 14 members of our department’s staff as technicians.” As a CPS instructor, colleagues praise her dedication to addressing diversity in the community, specifically by introducing materials in Spanish and training Spanish-speaking technicians in an effort to educate the Spanish-speaking community. Ortiz plays games and introduces videos to the technicians to help them recall material. “This touches on the heart of why she works to tirelessly educate people on car seat safety,” co-worker Kelsey Taylor said. “(Carina) truly cares about the safety of each and every little one. If her goal was to receive accolades, she could fill countless shelves with trophies highlighting all the good work she has done. But she is not in this for the trophies or the praise.”

Additional details about Carina and her dedication to child passenger safety can be found in the Instructor of the Year press release.