INJURY PREVENTION PROGRAM - CHILD OCCUPANT SAFETY PROJECT
The Child Occupant Safety Project provides child safety seats and education on proper installation and use primarily through the Mini Grant Program. The Mini Grant Program works with local community partners to provide best practice education and services to help parents and caregivers transport children safely. The Child Occupant Safety Program also:
· Provides education and technical assistance to hospitals with regards to the consistency of policies and procedures when discharging a newborn in an appropriate child restraint.
· Is the only statewide program that addresses safely transporting children with special medical needs and collaborates with local school systems, Head Start educators, and child care providers for school buses and Multi Function School Activity Bus transport safety.
· Partners with the Division of Family and Children’s Services and Children’s Medical Services to provide education and technical assistance to safely transport children in State care.
Child Passenger Safety Mini Grant Program:
Child safety seat initiatives exist in 154 counties through the following agencies: health departments, hospitals, emergency medical services, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and Safe Kids coalitions. Through these agencies, eligible individuals can receive equipment and proper education for all ages.
Deaths, (12 fatalities in 2011 for 0-3 age group), are only a small part of the toll motor vehicle crashes take on children and their families (FARS, 2011). Data analysis by the Injury Prevention Unit, in partnership with the Office of Health Indicators for Planning/OASIS reveals that in 2010 there were also 45 hospitalizations and 1,212 emergency room visits due to motor vehicle traffic related injuries (Note: Motor vehicle traffic related injuries exclude motorcycles, pedestrians, and pedal cycles). These injuries totaled $3.7 million in hospital charges (GA ER & Hospital Inpatient Discharge Data, 2010). Many of these injuries could have been prevented by age-appropriate restraint use and placing children in the back seat.
4 through 7 Years Old Age Group (booster seat age group):
In 2008, a total of 19,508 children 4 through 7 years old were involved in motor vehicle crashes. Of those children, 2,229 were injured and 11 were killed. Only 37% of these children involved in a crash were using a supplemental restraint, such as a child safety seat or a booster seat, in addition to the adult seat belt (GA Accident Reporting Crash Data, 2008). In the three-year period from 2008 to 2010, 32 children ages 4-7 years were killed. Hospital charges for the 143 children hospitalized due to motor vehicle traffic related injuries were about $6.6 million. The 7,102 emergency room visits for the same period resulted in an additional $8 million in charges (FARS, 2010, GA ER & Hospital Inpatient Discharge Data, 2008).
Since 2007, at least 229 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. The Child Occupant Safety Program utilizes the Teddy Bear Sticker Program to keep track of the number of children saved from death or serious injury when first responders report a program-funded seat that has been involved in a crash (identifiable by a teddy bear sticker) to the providing agency.
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 in passenger cars. Car seats offer the best protection for children in the event of a crash, and they are most effective when installed and used correctly. Nearly three out of every four car seats are not used properly, placing children at unnecessary risk.
Return on Investment:
Child safety seat distribution programs for ages 0-4 years yields an estimated cost savings of $2,200 for a cost of only $55 per seat provided (Children’s Safety Network).