Contra Costa Health Services to give away child safety seats to low income families

State grant will allow county to increase child passenger safety

Contra Costa Health Services has received a boost in its efforts to make vehicles safer for children, in the form of a $75,000 "Child Passenger Safety" grant given by the state.

Primarily the funds will allow nurses in the county’s "Public Health Nursing Home" visiting program to provide low-income residents with free car seats, as well as the material needed to instruct clients on how to use them properly.

“Children are our future and it is important that parents and caretakers keep children safe by using the right car seat, and installing it correctly,” wrote Rhonda Craft, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety -- the distributor of the grant. “Funding for child passenger safety education and training is critical to ensuring children are as safe as possible in vehicles.”

In an effort to reduce the rates of death and injury sustained by children due to improper use of car seats, boosters and seat belts, a minimum of 70 child safety seats will be distributed to county residents. Funds from the grant will also be used to promote safety seat recycling, establish child safety seat education classes and conduct inspections of seats.

A survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that car crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for children in the United States and that two out of three car seats are misused.

“Public health nurses in Contra Costa County serve vulnerable, low-income families who are impacted daily by health inequities,” said Marilyn Condit, a nurse program manager for CCHS. “Our families struggle with meeting the basic needs of the children. Rent, food, clothing all become priorities over car seats, and many of our families use old, expired car seats. This program is a much-needed resource to help keep children safe.”

Families eligible for the county public health nursing program include those at risk for negative child outcomes, health disparities, pregnant women and adolescents from underserved minority groups, among others.

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