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Free car seats with safety class

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VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

More parents in Lowndes County will be able to keep their children safe in the car with the help of a new car seat grant. 150 car seats will be given to low-income families in the county this year.

All it takes is the right size car seat and the knowledge on how to install it to help save a child's life in a car accident.

"You see that? If you're able to pinch it like that, that's not good. So you have to make sure it's tightened," said mother of four, Damiana Garcia, as she describes how to tighten her daughter's car seat belt. 

She says without the help of the Lowndes County Health Department's car seat program, she wouldn't have been able to buy her children car seats or know the tools to keep them safe in a car.

"They teach you here how to install it because a lot of people don't install their car seats correctly, and the other thing is they give them for free so there's no excuse not to have car seat," said Garcia.

Through the new car seat mini grant by the Georgia Department of Public Health, safety officials will give 150 car seats to low-income families in Lowndes County this year. But first you have to pass a safety class.

Program Coordinator, Cynthia Sharper explains the importance of the belt, "This is called your chest clip and a lot of times we're finding them way underneath the neck or way down here. It has to stay at armpit level because this is what secures the harness in place."

A lot of parents don't realize that it's not their child's age that determines what type of car seat they need. It's their height and weight that really matter.

"When we get in the car and I buckle them in, if I don't buckle myself in she says, 'mommy buckle in,'" said Garcia of her 2-year-old daughter.

And it's conversations like that, that are showing families the importance of staying safe while driving.

Call your local Health Department to find out if your county has a car seat program. Lowndes County has an education class starting this Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Health Department.

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