Safe Kids Larimer County Gets a Boost for Car Seat Safety Program

Safe Kids Larimer County, which provides education about vehicle and car seat safety and provides car seats to about 500 low-income families per year, recently received funding from the Northeastern Colorado Regional EMS/Trauma Advisory Council (RETAC) in the amount of $10,000.  The money will go directly toward purchasing car seats to distribute to families in need through the Safe Kids program.  The Safe Kids Larimer County coalition is the only organization that provides this service to families in the community.

“This funding will help with a large part of our $25,000 annual budget,” said Janet Werst, injury prevention coordinator for University of Colorado Health, northern region.  “We are tremendously grateful to organizations like Northeastern Colorado RETAC who appreciate the impact this program has on public safety – especially for children.”

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one leading cause of injury to children in Larimer County.  Strong evidence shows the effectiveness of child safety seat distribution and education programs in improving car seat use. Healthcare cost savings of over $1.24 million in Larimer County due to decreased risk of injury are also associated with the program.

Safe Kids offers public education through car seat inspection stations that its partner agencies operate throughout the county.  In addition, four classes (three in English, one in Spanish) are offered each month in Fort Collins and Loveland.  Families with demonstrated need may attend the one-hour class to receive education and an appropriate car seat for their child.  A small donation is requested, but not required.  Due to the program’s limited budget, car seat distribution is limited to one seat per family per year.  Classes are marketed through agencies that work with low-income families including Healthy Beginnings, Larimer County Department of Human Services, fire departments, EMS agencies, Loveland Community Health Center, Salud Family Health Center, the Family Center and more.

“Through our partners, we know that there are many low-income families in northern Colorado who need this program and will benefit from this grant,” explained Werst.  “Unfortunately, our work can’t be accomplished in a year – as kids grow and babies are born, families’ needs for safety seats are renewed and our financial need continues.”

Safe Kids Larimer County, is a coalition made up of over 35 groups in Larimer County with an interest or mission related to injury prevention.  The partnerships include businesses, school districts, municipal police departments, county departments, parent groups, and non-profit organizations – all are committed to preventing childhood injuries.  Safe Kids also partners with the Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies Foundation which assists with raising private contributions and grant funds for the Safe Kids program.

Donations of any size are helpful to the program; just $50 can purchase a car seat and potentially save a life. Those interested in supporting Safe Kids can contact Anna Waser at the PVH and MCR Foundation (970.624.1870) for more information, or visit supportinghealth.org.

About PVH and MCR Foundation:
The mission of the Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies Foundation is to support its affiliated hospitals and clinics in the delivery and advancement of world-class healthcare in northern Colorado.  The foundation realizes its mission through the development and stewardship of philanthropic resources in support of the hospitals’ mission and strategic goals.

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