Barrow department awarded car seat mini-grant

WINDER -- The Georgia Department of Community Health has awarded a 2012 Car Seat Mini-Grant to Barrow County Emergency Services and the Barrow County Sheriff's Office -- a move that will aide Barrow program leaders who said more than 70 percent of car seats are not used properly.

Through the Mini-Grant, the two departments will work together to provide car seats and education to financially eligible families in Barrow County. The Governor's Office of Highway Safety and the Maternal and Child Health Program funds this grant, which supplies car seats, not money, officials said.

And it works.

Since 2007, at least 180 children in Georgia who were involved in crashes were saved from serious injury or death by car seats, booster seats and education provided through the mini-grant, said Barrow County Emergency Services spokesman Lt. Scott Dakin.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car seats reduce fatal injuries by 71 percent among infants and by 54 percent among children ages 1 to 4 in passenger cars.

This year, 135 Georgia counties, including Gwinnett, will benefit from mini-grants.

In Barrow County, the two departments will educate parents and caregivers on how to properly install and use car seats, offer car seat inspections and also provide car seats and booster seats to financially eligible families.

"It's our responsibility to keep our children safe," Dakin said. "The Car Seat Mini-Grant is a great opportunity to help our community and help protect our kids from serious injuries or death."

For more information about the Barrow County car seat program, callthe Traffic Division of the Barrow County Sheriff's Office at 770-307-3080.