Car seat feat: Agencies partner for grant to distribute 100 car seats, educate families on safe practices
Published 12:10 pm Wednesday, January 10, 2018
One hundred child car seats and booster seats are available for Clark County families, thanks to a grant from the manufacturer.
Officials with New Beginnings of Winchester wrote the grant application last year to Evenflo, which manufactures car seats.
Clark County Community Services Director Debbie Fatkin said she spoke with Lisa Whitaker, New Beginnings’ director at the time, about seeing several clients who would arrive without proper car seats for their children.
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After a 6-month-old child was killed in a crash on Interstate 64 in Clark County last year because her car seat was not installed properly, the need was reinforced, Fatkin said.
“I felt we needed a way to really educate our families about the dangers of what could happen,” she said. “The whole purpose is to get our kids in car seats.”
If people are struggling to pay their basic bills, they are likely to struggle to buy car seats as well, she said.
After being approved for the grant last year, Evenflo sent 60 convertible car seats and 40 booster seats to be distributed to families in need, Fatkin said. The seats, she said, are basic but safe for children.
To qualify for a seat, families must complete a safety and training class at New Beginnings. Director Becki Arvin said two staff volunteers, who were certified as car seat instructors, lead a two hour class for new parents.
When they finish the class, they show a certificate to Fatkin’s staff, which then deliver the seat to Winchester Fire-EMS. Firefighters who are also trained as installers, then install the seat in the parents’ car and show them how to properly use the seats, Fatkin said.
After two months of classes, Arvin said about 25 of the car seats have been distributed. New Beginnings, which helps expectant and new mothers, hosts two to three classes a month, she said, whenever there are enough interested people.
So far, it’s working very well.
“I’d like to reapply for this (grant),” Arvin said. “I’d like to try to continue this on a yearly basis.”
“So far so good,” Fatkin said. “It’s all about safety.”