Motor vehicle traffic crashes are a leading cause of injuries and fatalities among Colorado kids. However, for children living in low-income metro-area communities, a lack of resources disproportionately impacts child passenger safety, significantly increasing this risk.
"Our target audience is anyone who needs help with ensuring their children are traveling safely," says Darryl Clark, executive director of Street-Smart, Inc.
A mission to keep children safe in cars
Four years ago, this driving mission led to a joining of efforts between nonprofits Street-Smart and Children's Hospital Colorado, forming the Each One, Teach One Child Passenger Safety Program.
Darryl says the Each One, Teach One approach dates back to when slaves who learned to read or write would then share their knowledge with others. "The whole idea is to teach you so you can teach someone else; it's a community approach," says Clark.
With support from a grant provided by the Colorado Department of Transportation, the initiative inspected 574 car seats for proper use, and distributed 481 car seats to families in need in 2015. More than 1,050 car seats have been distributed since 2014.
Focusing on kids with the greatest risk
"Street-Smart has always had an affinity for working with kids. This is about saving children's lives," says Clark, who hopes to soon expand the program far beyond its current reach.
"These types of community partnerships are critical to improving the health of neighborhoods," says Children's Colorado's Injury Prevention Strategist Dwayne Smith. "We want to concentrate our efforts in neighborhoods at the greatest risk for these injuries, which are entirely preventable. We've still got a lot of work to do, but this is a great start."