Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health has been providing car seats for low-income families for over 15 years. But the funding only covers car seats for children no longer in an infant seat.
Tuesday, the City Commission gave the green light for Public Health to search out and apply for additional grant opportunities to fill that gap.
Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health Community Health Nurse Manager Theresa Schmidt says, “Every newborn has to go home in a car seat, and it’s just one of those gaps in the community that we haven’t been able to fill.”
Cassie Geithman and Connie Schwartz are part of the team that helps lower-income families install their car seats.
Cassie Geithman, a Child Passenger Safety Technician adds, “We generally serve about 12 families a month, and we receive another eight to ten calls a month for the infant carrier seats that we don’t have the option of providing right now.”
Parents are required to sit through a video training, and then the technicians work with them to install their new seat.
Geithman explains, “A safe car seat for your child is a seat that fits your child, fits your vehicle, and a seat you can use correctly every time.”
The most important thing to look for when you’re buying a car seat is to make sure your child is within the height and weight range of the car seat. You can find that on the side of the carseat.
Geithman says car seats cost about $100 from the store. That can be a big expense, especially if you are living paycheck to paycheck.
Schmidt adds, “When it’s the choice of trying to put food on the table, pay your rent, sometimes it’s hard to come up with that extra cash.”
That’s a choice that Schmidt hopes families with infants will no longer have to make, now that they can seek out additional funding, with the Commission’s approval.
Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health will need about $5,000 to purchase the infant car seats, and get the training program up and running.