The Health Department’s Ohio Buckles Buckeye’s Program currently has a surplus of convertible car seats and is asking for residents to share the availability of the program.

The Ohio Buckles Buckeyes program provides infant seats, convertible car seats and booster seats to qualifying families. The goal of the program is to give car seats to families who are in need of a seat and may not be able to purchase one. To qualify for a seat, the family must meet the current Ohio WIC Income Guidelines. Families in need of an infant seat must also be a client of Job and Family Services. The family will be required to attend a short class at the health department where they will learn about car seat safety and receive help to install their car seat or booster seat correctly. Contact Deborah Raney at 342-5179 to check your eligibility and/or schedule an appointment for a car seat class. Parents can also visit Safe Kids Worldwide at www.safekids.org for current child safety seat guidelines.

Most parents understand the importance of car seats for young children. However, booster seat laws can be confusing, and many parents are not sure when or how to make the change from car seat to booster. Children need to be in a booster seat until they are eight years old or 4-foot-9 tall. Ohio’s child passenger law changed in 2009 to better protect children on Ohio’s roadways. The change requires that children under eight years old must be properly restrained in a booster seat or other appropriate car seat unless they are 4-foot-9 or taller.

Safety belts are not designed for children under 4-foot-9. Beginning at age 4, many children are too large for car seats and too small for adult seat belts. Booster seats raise your child up so that the safety belt fits properly. Shoulder belts should cross the chest, not the neck and lap belts should rest on the hip or pelvis, never on the stomach. All booster seats must be used with a lap and shoulder belt. Be sure to follow your seat manufacturer’s specific instructions for weight limits and proper use.

Your child is ready for an adult seat belt if all the following apply: The child is tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with his-her knees bent at the edge of the seat without slouching. The shoulder belt lies in the middle of his/her chest and shoulder, not his/her neck or throat. The lap belt is low and snug across the upper thighs, not the belly; and the child can stay in this position comfortably throughout the entire trip. Children should continue to ride in the back seat until they’re at least 13 years old.

The Perry County Health Department is working to keep you healthy where you live, work and play. For more information about any program or service offered by the Perry County Health Department, contact us at 342-5179 or visit us online at perrycountyhealth.info and follow us on Facebook.

Deborah Raney is the director of health education and a certified child passenger safety technician at the Perry County Health Department. She is a weekly contributor to the Perry County Tribune.

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