UCare honors county’s child car seat program

UCare representatives presented a certificate of appreciation to the Washington County Board of Commissioners Tuesday for the county’s work distributing children’s car seats and teaching child passenger safety education. Board Chairwoman Lisa Weik, left, received the award from Carol Berg, center, UCare government and public health manager, and Pat Schaffner, right, UCare SEATS health educator. (Photo courtesy of Washington County)

Washington County’s SEATS program, which distributes child car seats to eligible families through the Department of Public Health and Environment, was recognized Tuesday by UCare.

The award honors the DPHE Family Health Nursing Team for its collaboration and partnership in the SEATS program. In 2012, the team was a top distributor of car seats to UCare members, giving out 200 seats.

UCare is one of two prepaid medical assistance providers to county residents. A benefit offered to pregnant UCare members and to children on the program is a car seat. UCare works with local public health departments and other agencies throughout the state to provide child passenger safety education and distribute the car seats to eligible members.

The county’s Family Health Nursing team has eight public health nurses who are, along with their other job duties, trained as certified child passenger safety technicians. The 247 car seats distributed in 2012 was the second largest number of distributions in the state.

The Family Health Nursing Team also provides individual child passenger safety education to clients visited at their homes. The nurses get additional car seats through a state grant program which allows distribution to other families in the community who otherwise have no access to the seats. The county also recently worked with the Medical Reserve Corp Volunteers in this effort. In 2012, two volunteers were trained as child passenger safety technicians and began assisting staff in the distribution of car seats during regularly scheduled distribution days.

The nurses who are trained child passenger safety technicians also offer required child passenger safety education to county licensed child care and foster care providers.