Danville Life Saving Crew’s (DLSC) Community Paramedicine Program is partnering with Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and Community Healthcare Workers to provide free car seats to local parents through “VDH Safety Seat Distribution and Education Program.”
“We’re excited to bring this program to Danville so that qualifying parents can receive a free car seat and training to protect their child,” Johnny Mills, DLSC Community Paramedicine Program coordinator, said.
Johnny Mills, along with Tameka Coles, Jennifer Canada, LaKendra Lipscomb and Marlo Burton from Community Healthcare Workers, participated in a two-day training session with Marcia Franchok-Hill from VDH. During the course, they learned how to properly install car seats in different vehicles and adjust sizing to ensure children’s safety. Those who completed the course will soon be able to teach parents to use these skills as well.
In 2015, 663 children (ages 12 years and younger) died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes in the United State. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 35% of these children were not buckled up. The CDC also estimates that, throughout any given year, more than 618,000 children (ages 0-12) ride in vehicles without the use of a car seat, booster seat or seat belt multiple times.
“This program is all about safety and awareness,” Mills said, “We want to ensure that all children are safely secured with properly sized and positioned seats. By teaching parents how to use the car seats, we are also ensuring that the seats can be reinstalled or adjusted correctly when needed.”
To qualify for a free car seat, applicants must be a custodial parent, legal guardian or foster parent of a child who is seven years old or younger, or in the last trimester of pregnancy. Applicants must also be eligible for WIC, Medicaid or FAMIS, a Virginia resident, attend a safety seat and instillation course, and sign a waiver of liability release form. Applications will be available in October at the Danville Area Training Center, located at 630 Randolph Street in Danville. Car seat distribution and training is expected to officially begin in mid-October.