The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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April 8, 2013

New fund will help to improve child safety

— A new fund at the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies was created to protect children.

The Children’s Safety Fund is a collaborative effort by several local agencies to provide protective car seats and cribs for area children and their families.

In 2009, the Cambria County Health and Welfare Council established a local affiliation with the national Cribs for Kids program. Grants from Lee Initiatives and the state Department of Health helped to start the program, but donations from local businesses and individuals have enabled it to grow.

Cribs for Kids has provided more than 250 pack-and-play cribs to families.

State law says that all children younger than 4 must be in an approved restraint car seat and until at least age 8, children must be in a booster seat. In 2005 the Conemaugh Health System partnered with Pennsylvania Safe Kids to provide training for staff and education for parents on proper use of the seats.

Car seat checks are offered each Wednesday at the Richland Township Volunteer Fire Department on Scalp Avenue. If a car seat doesn’t meet safety standards, a seat is provided and parents are taught how to install it in the car.

“Both safety programs are not handouts. Our agencies support and teach new parents about safe sleep, car seat safety and help with other child care questions they may have,” said Marlene Singer, community health coordinator for Memorial Medical Center.

“Establishing the Children’s Safety Fund at the Community Foundation will allow both programs to continue to meet the growing need in the community where protecting children is our mission.”

Participating agencies include Home Nursing Agency, Beginnings Inc., Community Action Partnership of Cambria County, Women’s Help Center, Teen Parenting, Professional Family Care Services, WIC, Birthright and Memorial Medical Center.

Donations may be made to the Children’s Safety Fund at the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, 116 Market St., Johnstown, Pa. 15901. For more information, call 534-1588.

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