‘Ohio Buckles Buckeyes’ — income-eligible families may qualify for a car seat


Does your child have a safe car seat and/or booster seat that has never been in an accident, is still within the manufacture expiration date, and fits their current or soon-to-be weight and height? If not, the “Ohio Buckles Buckeyes (OBB) Car Seat Program” may be able to help keep your precious cargo safe on the road.

Motor-vehicle accidents are a top cause of injury and fatality for children

“In the United States, motor-vehicle related fatalities are among the top five causes of death in children,” according to the 20th annual report of the 2020 Ohio Child Fatality Review.

For the report, 368 deaths of children caused by vehicular injuries during a five-year period from 2015 through 2019 were reviewed. Of the 368 deaths reviewed, seven children were aged 0-28 days, 10 were aged 29-364 days, 61 children were 1-4 years old, and 45 children were 5-9 years old.

Of those 368 deaths, 59% involved an automobile (car/SUV/truck/van) and 44% were passengers within a vehicle – there were 137 vehicular deaths involving a child passenger of a car, van, SUV, or truck that the report investigated.

In those 137 instances of death:

-eight deaths had a child seat that was being used incorrectly.

-one death had no child seat at all, even though it was needed.

-two deaths had a booster seat that was being used incorrectly.

-two deaths had a booster seat, but the booster seat was not being used for the child.

-five deaths had no booster seat at all, even though they were needed.

Ohio Buckles Buckeyes Program provides seats to income-eligible families

The OBB program provides one free car seat or booster seat per child to income-eligible families in Ohio. The program uses the same income guidelines as WIC, although families do not have to have WIC in order to qualify. A person who has or has family members with other benefit programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or TANF, automatically meets income eligibility.

To check income-eligibility by household size, please go to www.benefits.gov/benefit/2068.

The car seat must be used by the primary caregiver – basically, the program is not for a babysitter or family member to have an extra car seat, but for families who need a car seat for their main transportation of the child. Help Me Grow has a limited number of car seats available to assist Fayette County families.

Those interested in this program and in need of a convertible seat or a booster seat (the program does not have infant car seats), can contact Fayette County Help Me Grow at 740-335-5111 to discuss eligibility.

Upon approval, a certified child passenger safety technician will teach the caregiver how to properly use the new car seat for their child, and how to correctly install the seat in their personal vehicle – all to keep little one as safe as possible while on the road.

The local sponsors of the program are: Fayette County Public Health, Fayette County Help Me Grow, and United Way of Fayette County.

Jennifer Woods is a home visitor for the Help Me Grow Home Visiting program at Fayette County Public Health. FCPH has six certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs) who can assist parents and caregivers with the proper installation of their car seats. Call 740-335-5111 for more information.


By Jennifer Woods

Help Me Grow Home Visitor, Fayette Co. Public Health

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