LaGRANGE — Local law enforcement, along with West Georgia STAR, the nonprofit arm of the LaGrange Housing Authority, are slated to give away new car seats to people in need Saturday on Chatham Street from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The back-to-school event is free and open to the public and will include instructions from the Georgia State Patrol on how to safely and properly install a car seat, along with food, inflatable play areas and face painting.
The LaGrange police and fire departments are slated to be on hand with a police cruiser and a firetruck for kids to explore, according to Inetha Hatten, one of the event’s organizers.
Free health screenings are also scheduled to be available at the event, Hatten said.
The Georgia State Patrol is handling the distribution of the donated car seats, which have come from various organizations including Atlanta Fire and Rescue and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, according to GSP Sgt. 1st Class Maurice Rains, commander of the local GSP post.
About 100 car seats are expected to be given away Saturday and the distribution will be based on an individual’s need and a first-come, first-served basis, Raines said.
In 2008, a total of 14,154 children ages 6 through 8 years in Georgia were involved in vehicle crashes. Of those, 10 were killed and 1,755 were injured. Only 12 percent of these children reportedly used a supplemental restraint, such as a child safety seat or a booster seat, in addition to the adult seat belt, according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.
Hospitalization charges for 248 children hospitalized in traffic-related injuries totaled about $7 million in that same year. Some 5,111 emergency room visits stemming from motor vehicle crashes incurred another $5 million in expenses, according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.
Georgia law requires that every driver who transports a child 8 years of age and younger in a passenger automobile, van or pickup truck must restrain the child in a child safety seat.
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