Qualifying families may be eligible for free child safety seats through a state grant to the Bulloch County Health Department.
The 2019 Car Seat Mini-Grant, provided by the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Injury Prevention Program “will provide car seats and education to financially eligible families in Statesboro, Georgia and local surrounding counties,” said Toni Nelson, public information officer for the Bulloch County Board of Health.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car seats reduce fatal injuries by 71 percent among infants and by 54 percent among children ages 1 to 4 years in passenger cars.
Car seats offer the best protection for children in the event of a crash, and they are most effective when installed and used correctly, said Cindi Hart, Southeast Health District Nursing Director.
“Nearly three out of every four car seats are not appropriately handled, placing children at unnecessary risk,” she said.
Each year the county applies for a “cache” of car seats, provided by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Nelson said the number varies each year, depending on availability and community needs. Last year, 39 Bulloch County families received educational information and car seats through the grant.
Certified Georgia State Patrol troopers, as well as a certified child passenger safety technician employed by the Health Department, conduct one-hour educational courses to receiving families before installation
“Participants will attend a one-hour educational session on the importance of using a car seat correctly,” she said. “This session is followed by hands-on training in how to properly install a car seat.”
To qualify for the program, Bulloch County residents enrolled in the WIC program, who meet financial eligibility requirements, may apply for the program by calling (855) 473-4734, she said.
Bulloch County’s program provided 39 car seats last year, according to Nelson. About 130 of Georgia’s 159 counties participate in the program.
Bulloch participates “to help ensure Georgia’s children are safe while riding in motor vehicle,” Hart said. “It’s our responsibility to keep our children safe. 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.”
Since 2007, the education, car seats and booster seats provided through the Mini-Grant prevent severe injury or death and has saved more than 300 of Georgia’s children who were involved in crashes
For more information or to apply for a car seat and education course, call (855) 473-4734.