Mississippi: Saving Lives Through Correct Use of Child Safety Seats
Buckling children in child safety seats can reduce car vehicle injuries and save lives. Proper child safety seat use reduces the risk of death by 71% for babies younger than 1 year and by 54% for toddlers aged 1–4 years. In 2014, car crashes killed 21 Mississippi children under age 14. In that same year, 90% of Mississippi children were not riding in child safety seats correctly. The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) used part of its Preventive Health and Health Services (PHHS) Block Grant funding for the state’s Child Occupant Protection Program. This program teaches parents how to properly install child safety seats in their vehicles and how to secure their children safely. Also, a small portion of PHHS Block Grant funds was used to help purchase more than 1,000 child safety seats for families with lower incomes.
MSDH taught five Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) training courses, increasing the number of trained technicians to 300 statewide. CPST training certifies technicians in child seat safety and proper seat installation. These technicians then conduct safety trainings in communities to teach parents and others. In 2014, CPSTs held 30 child safety seat trainings at state buildings, fire and sheriffs’ departments, schools, daycares, local health departments, WIC offices, and churches across the state, reaching about 650 people.
CPSTs at more than 30 inspection stations statewide helped parents and other caregivers receive education, information, and assistance in proper child safety seat use and installation. MSDH staff, health educators, and Safe Kids Mississippi advertised the initiative with flyers, emails, and advertisements through the local health department and radio station.
Using PHHS Block Grant funding, Mississippi will continue to teach residents about proper child passenger safety.
Story year: 2015