Thanks to a joint project proposed by the Randolph County Health Department and Black River Technical College’s Department of Nursing, up to 400 children in the area will be provided car seats that may well save lives and prevent serious injury in the event of automobile accidents. The two partnering organizations recently received word that their Community-Based Injury Prevention Initiative was funded by the Arkansas Department of Health, meaning there is no charge for the safety seats.
As a result, personnel from the county Health Department, nursing students and staff at BRTC, and certified seat technicians from around Northeast Arkansas will fit and provide 400 children car seats on July 14 on the campus of BRTC in Pocahontas. The event begins at 8 a.m. and will continue as long as the seats remain available.
Grant Director Kathy Smith of the Randolph County Health Department said safety seats had long been a priority of hers, but that last year’s flood had destroyed her inventory of seats. “It was a relief to me,” she said, “when the student nurses expressed an interest in a safety seat project last fall so that the work can continue.”
BRTC Nursing Instructor/Clinical Site Coordinator Teresa Fisher echoed the sentiment, saying “We are very excited about this event!” In addition to the car seat component, health care professionals will be on hand to teach child and infant CPR. The Randolph County Health Department will provide immunizations and provide information on preventing injuries. BRTC nursing students will be on hand to assist in the event.
Car seats will be provided on a first-come first served basis (no income requirement) with these guidelines: the child must be present and fitted for the seat; and the parent/guardian must sign for the seat.
The grant, approximately $23,000, provides the following seats: 76 rear or front-facing seats (rear facing for children from 5-35 pounds; forward facing for children from 20-50 pounds); 176 seats with harness for those from 20-50 pounds; and 150 big kid seats for those weighing 30-100 pounds.