Low-income families in San Diego now have access to 1,925 free child car seats as part of an effort to reduce child fatalities in motor vehicle crashes.
The County Health and Human Services Agency's (HHSA) “Keep ‘Em Safe” program is starting an educational campaign to encourage safety precautions for children passengers by raising awareness and providing resources and supplies to parents.
Through the program, and a grant of $240,505 from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), hundreds of car seats will be given to low-income families through September. This marks the sixth year that OTS has donated funding to the County for this program.
The "Keep 'Em Safe" campaign features presentations showing the proper installation and use of child car seats, and also offers passenger safety classes to social workers, public health nurses, community outreach workers and public safety workers.
The overall objective is to increase safety awareness in the community.
In the U.S., motor vehicle injuries are one of the leading causes of preventable deaths among children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Back in 2013, there were over 600 deaths among children ages 12 and younger in motor vehicle crashes, and more than 127,000 were injured.
The CDC says that car seat use can reduce the risk of death to infants by 71 percent and toddlers by 54 percent. The risk of serious injury is also significantly reduced with a car seat. Children ages four through eight are 45 percent less likely to suffer a serious injury in a motor vehicle accident while using a car seat.
Child restraints saved the lives of about 10,421 children, ages four and younger, between 1975 and 2013.
“The campaign’s goal is to increase the proper use of child safety seats, the use of seat belts, and to educate parents about vehicle safety,” said Chairman Ron Roberts, County Board of Supervisors. “This program is a valuable investment to help keep children safe when they are being driven on the road.”