Community help needed to provide car seats for low-income families

·3 min read
Funding is needed to provide car seats for families in need at Natividad Hospital, Salinas, Calif.
Funding is needed to provide car seats for families in need at Natividad Hospital, Salinas, Calif.

For some families, getting the basics for a baby on the way can be challenging and costly.

That is why local organizations like Child Christ Society of Monterey Bay (CCSMB), Natividad Hospital and the Salinas Fire Department are coming together to provide 60 car seats to families in-need in 2022.

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The goal is to get the funding needed to purchase the Graco 4Ever® car seats from Costo retailers. These car seats can last families up until a child is around 7 or 8 years old or as long as they need to be in a car seat. Additionally, the car seat is designed to transition from a rear-facing harness to a forward-facing harness.

CCSMB President Anne Kelley explains car seats can be hard to obtain for financiallystressed families as costs can range in the amount of hundreds of dollars.

"The hospital certainly hears the need and it is a requirement, you cannot leave a hospital without it," she said. "People do ask for (car seats) or for the money to purchase (car seats). It is essential."

Community funding is needed to provide car seats to low-income families at Natividad Hospital, Salinas, Calif.
Community funding is needed to provide car seats to low-income families at Natividad Hospital, Salinas, Calif.

Kelley says funding for the car seats at Natividad mostly came from a third-party corporate donor, but after that came to a stop, they were determined to find a way to continue providing them for local families.

"We can't help hundreds of children, but we try to make it as meaningful as possible for that child and that family," Kelley said.

Natividad’s Women and Children’s Services will select the families based on their financial need. In addition, bilingual personnel from Salinas Fire Station No. 1 will be doing their part by training with families to show how to install and use the seats safely.

According to studies shown on various health websites like Mayo Clinic, some of the most common mistakes and dangers of car seat safety include:

  • Getting a used car seat without knowing how it works

  • Placing a car seat in the wrong spot

  • Facing a car seat in the wrong direction

  • Installing the seat or buckling a child incorrectly

"Thanks to this new program, families who qualify receive a top-of-the-line car seat. And thanks to the Salinas Fire Department, families can learn how to use and install their car seats correctly — studies show 70 to 90% are installed incorrectly," said April Ritchie, director of Natividad's Women and Children's Services.

So far, they raised money to purchase 30 of the 60 car seats, but the goal is to provide more and continue their efforts beyond the next year.

Baby Bundle supplies are given to families in need at Natividad Hospital, Salinas, Calif.
Baby Bundle supplies are given to families in need at Natividad Hospital, Salinas, Calif.

The funds will also go toward providing Natividad's recipient families with one of the 120 Baby Bundles which include diapers, wipes, books, bilingual health and safety information pamphlets and clothes and blankets made by local seamstresses and knitters.

CCSMB will host its Shower of Love fundraising event on Saturday, Dec. 4. from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Carmel Mission’s MacMahon Center, 3080 Rio Road.

People can also make a donation and see more information by visiting: www.christchildmontereybay.org. Other resources and information can be found at www.natividad.com.

This article originally appeared on Salinas Californian: Salinas organizations seek to provide families with car seats

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