KISS program makes learning about car seats a breeze
July 21, 2017
Thomas R. Throssell
Gila River Indian News
At first, finding the right car seat for your child may seem like one of the easier tasks of raising a child, however, once you start researching which seat to purchase the floodgates of information rip wide open and what once seemed like an easy task has suddenly become a massive headache.
Luckily, you aren’t alone. The Tribal Health Department’s Gila River Injury Prevention Kids in Safety Seats (KISS) program has got your back and is ready to show you which car seat to get and how to properly install it.
That’s not all. They will even give you a free car seat for attending one of their car seat safety classes.
For Teri J. De La Cruz, Injury Prevention Technician, who has been teaching car seat safety classes throughout the Gila River Indian Community, it is important for parents to learn to properly install their child’s car seat and understand the consequences of improperly installed seats.
“We are just trying to make parents more aware of the safety of car seats for babies all the way up to having your kids in a booster seat up to the age of 12 if needed,” De La Cruz said. “We are trying to save lives by informing parents. We see car crashes, at least here in Gila River, five a month, and some of them, the kids are not in car seats.”
She said that many parents have the misconception if they are driving a short distance from home, to their local supermarket down the road or nearby post office, that their child will be fine riding in their vehicle unrestrained.
“They think they will just run down the road. The important thing is to always, always put your baby in the car seat, even if you are just going a couple of blocks,” De La Cruz said. “These are your children and it only takes a couple of seconds to buckle up your baby.”
“You just never know when you are going to have to slam the brakes, or you might hit something suddenly where the baby will fly out [of the car seat] if the child is not restrained,” she said. “These are fragile bodies still and having an impact on the console, on the back of the seat, can cause sever head trauma and severe injuries to the body.”
On July 11, Community members took part in a car seat safety class held at the Sacaton Dialysis Center. De La Cruz explained the benefits of each type of child restraint, the infant, convertible, combination, and booster seats, and which one is most appropriate for an infant all the way to 12-years of age.
The Community members in attendance watched a detailed video on car seat safety and asked De La Cruz questions about which seats they should get for their children. Shortly after, free car seats were handed out to those attending the class and were led to the parking lot where De La Cruz made sure everyone installed their chosen car seat correctly.
“Our program is a federally funded program, so all [tribal members] are invited to come get a car seat,” she said. “We give away four car seats in our program, a convertible, a combination, a highback booster and a no back booster. We service all the districts here, we try to get to every district every month.”
If you are interested in learning more about car seat safety or would like to receive a free car seat, call the Gila River Injury Prevention Kids in Safety Seats (KISS) program at (520) 550-8000 or email Verena Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Teri De La Cruz at email@example.com
The next car seat training classes will be held on Aug. 15 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Sacaton Dialysis Center and Aug. 23 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Komatke Health Care.