Health Department awarded car seat mini-grant

Published 2:08 pm Monday, February 14, 2011

The Decatur County Health Department was one of eight sites in Southwest Health District to be awarded a 2011 Car Seat Mini-Grant by the Georgia Department of Community Health Division of Public Health, Maternal and Child Health Program—Injury Prevention, Southwest Public Health District Director Jacqueline Grant announced.

“Through the mini-grant, the Decatur County Health Department and the Georgia State Patrol work together to provide car seats and education to financially eligible families,” Grant said. “We are delighted that the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and the Maternal and Child Health Program are funding this program to help assure that the children in this community and throughout Georgia are safe while riding in motor vehicles.”

The program has a record of success.

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Since 2007, at least 150 children in Georgia who were involved in crashes were saved from serious injury or death by car seats, booster seats and education provided by the mini-grant, added Decatur County Health Department Director Sherry Hutchins.

“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 old in passenger cars,” Hutchins said. “Car seats offer the best protection in the event of a crash, and they are the most effective when installed and used correctly.”

Nearly three out of four car seats are not used properly, placing children at unnecessary risk, she explained.

“It’s our responsibility to keep our children safe,” added Sara Renae Hester, who manages the program for the Decatur County Health Department. “The Car Seat Mini-Grant is a great opportunity to help our community and help protect our kids from serious injuries or death in motor vehicle crashes.”

The Decatur County Health Department, the Georgia State Patrol and their partners in the program educate parents and caregivers on how to properly install car seats, offer car seat inspections and provide car seats and booster seats to financially eligible families.

“We help families get their children buckled up right, every trip, every time,” Hester said.

The eight sites receiving car seat mini-grants in Southwest Health District for 2011 are the health departments located in Baker, Decatur, Dougherty, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas and Worth counties and the Ellenton Farmworker Clinic located in Colquitt County.

For more information about the Decatur County car seat program, contact the health department at 248-3055, ext. 234.