Public health to give away booster seats to qualifying families
Published 8:30 am Friday, May 19, 2023
Starting May 31, District 4 Public Health will be providing a limited number of free booster seats and safety training to financially eligible families through a Child Passenger Safety Mini-Grant.
Troup County and eight other counties are among the 108 counties in Georgia to receive the grant from the Child Occupant Safety Project of the Georgia Department of Health’s Injury Prevention Program.
“It can be an exciting time for a child to graduate to a ‘big boy’ or ‘big girl’ seat, but it’s good not to rush to the next stage if you can wait a little bit longer. Transitioning your child too early can significantly increase the risk of injury in the event of a crash,” said Natalie Shelton, public information officer and risk communicator for District 4 Public Health.
“Children are ready for a booster seat when they’re generally around 5 years old, at least 40 pounds, and have reached the manufacturer’s maximum height or weight limit for their forward-facing five-point harness car seat.”
According to the CDC, car crashes are one of the leading causes of death for children. The use of booster seats for children ages 4 to 8 helps reduce the risk of serious injury by 45 percent, as opposed to using seat belts alone.
With the new funding, each health department can provide up to eight car seats or booster seats each month, depending on the type of need, to the first eligible families who qualify, in need of a car seat, and attend a short safety training session.
Shelton said at the May 31 class they will only be giving away booster seats. In the months to come, the organization plans to give away both car seats and booster seats depending on availability.
“We want to do everything we can to help families keep their children safe,” said Amy Fenn, District 4’s director of nursing. “The Car Seat Mini-Grant is a great opportunity to help our community and help protect our children from serious injuries or death in motor vehicle crashes.”
Families already enrolled in WIC, Medicaid or PeachCare are eligible to attend the training and receive a booster seat for as long as the health department has them available for the month. For those not enrolled in government assistance, eligibility will be based on specified financial guidelines.
“It doesn’t matter if you qualify for a free car seat or not; we want to help you even if you’ve already purchased or received a car seat and just need assurance you’re installing it the right way,” Fenn said. “It’s a completely free service, and it is gratifying for us to share the small ways that proper car-seat installation can make a huge difference in helping keep your child safe.”
The program is funded by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to help ensure Georgia’s children are safe while riding in motor vehicles. Since 2007, the education, car seats and booster seats provided through the grant to health departments and other community partners have prevented serious injury or death and have saved over 425 of Georgia’s children who were involved in crashes.
Those interested in the free car-seat program or in scheduling an appointment for a free car-seat safety check and installation, call (706) 298-3755 or visit https://www.district4health.org/car-seats/.