The Toccoa Police Department will receive a grant to again help provide car seats to families who need them in Stephens County.
Last week, the Police Department announced that it received the 2013 Car Seat Mini-Grant from the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Office of Injury Prevention. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and the Maternal and Child Health Program help fund the grant.
The police department works with Pioneer RESA on the grant and the distribution of car seats.
Toccoa Police Officer David Shanks said that the grant allows the agencies to provide car seats to financially eligible families in Stephens County.
“We hold car seat checks at various locations,” said Shanks. “Anyone who wants to can come and get their car seat checked. We check for proper installation, the proper seat, expiration, just things that we see on the road as problems for the safety of the kids. If the car seat needs to be replaced, we now have the ability and the supplies to replace those car seats.”
Shanks said the car seats come at no cost to the city of Toccoa.
He went on to say that it is not just a matter of providing the car seats, but also providing the education to use them properly.
According to Shanks, using a car seat properly can save a child’s life.
“If the child is properly installed in the car seat and is in a wreck, there is a much higher chance of survival,” he said.
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 years old in passenger cars.
Shanks said the seats have not come in yet, but last year he says the city received 80 to 90 car seats, along with some booster seats.
He explained that the booster seats are especially important because of a change in state law last year that requires a child to be in a car seat until the age of 8.
“Last year, they changed the age that a child (had to) be in a car seat,” said Shanks. “Now, it is up until they are eight years old. We had a lot of booster seats they brought us last year, which was very helpful. They are going to be doing the same thing this year.”
Along with organized checks in the community, the Toccoa Police Department will also do car seat checks by appointment.
For more information, call the Toccoa Police Department at 706-282-3244.