SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend is working to make sure all babies that leave the hospital make it home safely.
Safe Rides for Safe Kids is the hospital’s new child car-seat safety program. It provides free car-seat checks to families leaving RiverBend’s Mom & Baby Unit and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. They are also offered to families leaving the Pediatrics Unit and Emergency Department.
New car seats are available to families who cannot afford to replace broken or recalled car seats, or have car seats that aren’t the right size for their child.
“We’re so happy that PeaceHealth is able to offer Safe Rides for Safe Kids, and we’re deeply grateful to the many donors who are supporting this program to benefit children and families. This truly will prevent injuries and save lives,” said Dr. Angela Zallen, a pediatric hospitalist at Sacred Heart at RiverBend and co-chair of Safe Kids West Oregon, a nonprofit child safety advocacy group.
“Going home for the first time, especially as first-time parents, is very terrifying,” said Brittney Secora, who delivered her daughter, Evelyn, a month ago at Sacred Heart at RiverBend. She and her husband, Zachary, appreciated having a car-seat inspection before they drove Evelyn home.
"It definitely was that extra peace of mind leaving the hospital knowing that she was buckled in safely and that somebody who knows what they’re talking about has looked at her car seat and seen that she was going to be safe,” Secora said.
In May, Sacred Heart at RiverBend hired two certified child passenger safety technicians to start conducting car-seat checks at the hospital. From May to August the technicians assisted 640 families. During that time, they checked 350 car seats and found that about 80% were installed incorrectly.
Safe Rides for Safe Kids was made possible through donations to a fund managed by the Sacred Heart Medical Center Foundation. For more information about the Safe Rides for Safe Kids program, click here.