Many health departments offering free car safety seats - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Many health departments offering free car safety seats

By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

BAINBRIDGE, GA (WALB) – Safety seats are a must for children riding in cars. But a lot of families don't have the money to buy them these days.

Many County Health Departments will help them out. They offer free child safety seats to people who need them most.

Registered nurse Renae Hester has seen it all when it comes to child safety, or the lack thereof.

"I don't know how many times I've rode behind somebody with a baby not buckled in," says Hester.

So she, along with her health department, decided to apply for a grant from the Georgia Injury Prevention Program to give car seats to financially eligible families.

"It's just a good benefit. There is a need for it. And with our economy as is, who couldn't use the help?"

Hester says car seats provide the best protection for children in a crash.

"Without a car seat the baby is not secure in a car. The force of gravity is a lot stronger than a parent's arms."

Families who request the car seats must prove eligibility by income status and attend a two hour class to learn the proper use of the seats.

Health officials say three out of four car seats are not properly used, which reduces their effectiveness.

"You would be amazed at how many seats are not put in correctly. The seat belts are too loose, they're not buckled in right. They're turned the wrong way, so yeah, there's a lot of misuse and parents just don't realize it."

And the honest mistake could get parents in trouble with the law.

"You can be cited. I know they give you two times and then the third time you could go to jail."

Hester says it's the risk of citation and an average savings of $100 that has brought out 50 families in the past. But it's the comfort of knowing their children are protected that parents look forward to the most.

There is currently a waiting list for the free car seats in Decatur County.

If you'd like to find out if your county is one of the 128 counties that offer free safety seats, contact your local health department.

 

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