An average of 1,700 children are killed in motor vehicle accidents in the United States each year. A number the Audrain County Health Department (ACHD) finds way too high.
To help combat that number, the ACHD, with the help of a grant from the French Foundation, is launching a free car seat program for those Audrain County residents that qualify.
“We looked at an area of public health we were not serving as well as we should be and the one that jumped out at us was the health and well-being of children,” said Audrain County Grant Coordinator Chris Newbrough.
“We noticed a few of our clientele showing up for appointments without their children properly restrained by a car seat. That got one of our nurses, Brandi Meyer, thinking about launching the program.”
Meyer says the new program will help get child safety to those areas of the populations that need it most.
“We’ve fielded several calls over the past six months about new mothers and fathers needing a car seat because they are unable to afford them,” Meyer said.
“Luckily, we’ve been able to cover those requests through other resources in the community, but it got me thinking about launching a free car seat program here at ACHD. We hope to reach those in the community that cannot afford a car seat by providing one for free of charge if they meet our guidelines for the program. Those guidelines include being a resident of Audrain County, falling within certain income guidelines and having a child that needs to be buckled into a car seat when riding in a car.”
Meyer and Support Staff Sarah Palmer are certified through the SafeKids national program as car seat technicians after taking a three-day course in Columbia earlier this year.
The program will be offered the third Monday of every month at the ACHD offices at 1130 S. Elmwood Drive in Mexico and only two appointments will be accepted per month.
“We have to limit it to a couple of appointments per month at the start because Sarah and I have to show the parent how to install the car seat, then watch them do it and then check they did it properly,” Meyer said.
“We will open it up to more appointments once the program’s underway.”
The first date for the program will be Monday, June 15 from noon-2 p.m. in the afternoon.
To find out if you, or your family, qualify for the program, we welcome you to contact the ACHD at 573-581-1332.