GRANTS PASS – Parents and caregivers can participate in a free inspection of their existing car seats and child restraints, and/or obtain new low-cost safety seats at an inspection and distribution event 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at Grants Pass High School, 830 NE 9th St., Grants Pass. The event is conducted by the Josephine County Child Car Safety Seat Coalition program. Grants Pass Fire/Rescue (GPFR) is the lead agency in administering the program.
Correct child restraint use can be daunting due to the many variations between vehicles and car seats. Local child restraint misuse rates have been recorded to be as high as 80 percent, according to Lt. Travis Marsh of GPFR.
“The mission of the coalition is to provide access to free education on correct child restraint use and provide reduced cost car seats to families in need,” said Marsh.
The program is possible through an Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) grant funding a majority of the materials and educational outreach. In 2018, GPFR assisted with the installation of 194 seats and distributed 43 reduced cost seats.
Qualifying for Reduced Cost Safety Seats
Individuals on OHP, or families working with WIC qualify for reduced cost seats. The coalition provides convertible and combination seats for $30 each, and booster seats for $10. Additional discounts are available for some individuals.
Qualifying individuals must bring their OHP or WIC member card(s). Caregiver must be the parent or legal guardian of the child. Both caregiver and child must be present. Foster parents and grandparents are not eligible. Caregiver must participate in learning correct seat use procedures. Only one seat per child per family. There must be a true need for a new seat, such as newborn child, child outgrew old seat, or old seat has expired/is unsafe). Caregiver must bring current seat and primary vehicle.
Distribution and checkup events occur every other month at the Hillcrest Station. In addition, the coalition hosts multiple community seat check events throughout the year. Call 541-450-6200 for information on the next distribution or seat check event. Keep in mind that distribution events are on a first come, first serve basis and they may reach capacity quickly. Arrive early in the event to ensure that we can help and be prepared to wait if there is already a line. Expect to spend at least 30 minutes working with a technician to learn safe child restraint use.
Scheduling Inspections and Installations
Members of the public are encouraged to attend an inspection event, or to call for an appointment for a free seat check with a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST.) Obtaining this certification requires a three-day class and is maintained through annual continuing education. Grants Pass has a number of firefighters, police officers, community service officers and community volunteers with their certification.
“Take advantage of this service to be 100 percent sure that you are using your seat correctly,” said Marsh.
To schedule an appointment with a certified technician at a local fire station, call Travis Marsh at (541)450-6200. The next public inspection and distribution event will be held Dec. 17.