By Abbey Doyle
For The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Joanne Amick often receives calls from expectant parents in desperate need of car seats.
She often has to turn them away as the Safe Kids program doesn’t allow her to distribute seats before babies are born.
But Community Hospital Anderson’s Peds and Teens clinical manager said she is relieved to now be able to tell those callers that every one of them delivering their baby at Community will receive a free car seat.
The program began March 1 with Jayden Grimes’ daughter, Kamyla, receiving one of the first safety seats.
The little girl was born Feb. 27 and was leaving the hospital on the first day for the new program.
“I think it is very nice,” Grimes said. “I know there are some people who can’t afford one — car seats are very expensive. So this way the baby will be able to go home safely and the parents won’t have to worry.”
Safety was the number one factor for the program, said Gail Elbert, director of Community’s Women and Children’s Services.
“We want to continue to provide for the safety of our littlest patients after they go home,” she said. “We are providing an extra measure of safety for our patients.”
The program is modeled after one at Community Hospital East in Indianapolis. The family of any newborn delivered at Community Hospital Anderson will be given an infant safety seats — an Evenflo Discovery rear-facing seat for infants weighing from 5 to 22 pounds.
Parents are also given a sticker with medical information to be placed on the seat in an emergency.
“We continue to care for our patients, not just in the hospital, but also out in the community,” Elbert said. “We do this through programs like this one and supporting programs like Safe Sleep and Safe Kids.”
The funding the seats is coming from the hospital. A separate income-based car seat program that will continue to be operated.
All parents also go through car seat education before leaving the hospital. They’ll watch a video about installation of the seat, legal requirements and how to safely put the child in the seat.
“Having a new baby is a huge expense for families,” Elbert said. “This is one little thing we can do for patients to help with that and to promote safety.”