Due to a significant decrease in funding from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee for the County’s Child Passenger Safety (Car Seat) Program, the program now requires a referral from patients or clients enrolled in a program with a home visitor from the Madison County Health Department, Department of Social Services (DSS), or Community Action Partnership (CAP). This may be a nurse, caseworker, or a family support worker, who is working with the family. Due to this limited funding, the Car Seat Program may be able to help parents living in the county who lack all other resources and have no other options to obtain a car seat for their child.

All referrals will be reviewed to determine eligibility at the Madison County Health Department in Wampsville. If the referral is accepted, a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician will contact the parent to schedule an appointment in either Wampsville or Morrisville. Once grant funding has been exhausted for this program year, additional funding will not be available until October 2017.

According to Health Department officials, there are two other options that may help families obtain car seats.

Borrowing a car seat from a friend, family member, or someone who otherwise knows the history of the seat is one option for parents who may be on a fixed budget and not inclined to buy a brand new seat. It is important to know that the seat has not expired, has not been in a crash, and has not been recalled with a safety issue that has not been fixed. If you are unsure of the expiration date or whether the seat has been recalled, check the sticker on the seat that displays the model number and date of manufacturer. Recalls can be looked up on www.nhtsa.dot.gov if you have the car seat manufacturer, model name, model number, and date of manufacturer.

Another option is to ask for a car seat or gift cards that may be used toward the purchase of a car seat as a gift for a baby shower or a child’s birthday. Many car seats available in stores hold a child from birth to a booster seat. While this type of seat may cost more initially, it could be the only car seat a child needs. With some prior planning, a child should not need more than two different types of car seats in their lifetime.

For any questions on child passenger safety, call the Madison County Health Department at 315-366-2361 or visit www.healthymadisoncounty.org.