Rosey’s Car Seats for Kids approaches their anniversary
Nearly one year and 125 car seats later, the three founders of Rosey’s Car Seats for Kids continue to meet weekly to help provide affordable safety for kids on the road. Recently, the foundation officially received the Internal Revenue Service’s 501 c 3 nonprofit status. The directors report their next goal is to extend their efforts in Summit County to Wasatch County. For now, they’re working with local schools to increase car seat safety awareness. "It’s not really a glamorous thing to fundraise for, because it’s so basic and affordable," Rosey’s Car Seats for Kids co-director Christy Young explained. "You don’t really hear about the success of car seats — you just hear about when kids get hurt when they don’t wear them." Young began the foundation with Christina Sullivan and Naomi Doyle after they met at an accident on State Road 224 on Nov. 18. A three-year-old girl, Rosa Amalia del Carmen Mariano, was in a car with her 18-year-old aunt and had not been secured in a car seat at the time of the crash. Rosa was badly injured. "It didn’t look good and I’m a nurse so I’ve seen some bad accidents," Sullivan recalled. "I remember the medics saying it was pretty bad. [Rosa] was so lucky that the help came there so quickly." Silvia Leavitt, a Heber City resident who befriended the Mariano family after the crash, said she visited Rosa in August. Though her scars continue to mend, Leavitt reports four-year-old Rosa is healthy enough to eat, play and go to Head Start for preschool. Since the accident, Leavitt says the Marianos take buckling safety belts seriously enough that they now lend their seats so that friends can keep their kids safe. "What’s rewarding to us is that 125 kids are safer now," Sullivan said. "And this goes to show you that you don’t need to be a big corporation to start something like this you can have an idea and you can do something to help your community." According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, children four to eight years of age who sit in booster seats and car seats are 59 percent less likely to be injured in the event of an accident. The foundation works with the Summit County Health Department to donate seats to those that need them most. The health department then helps to install car seats properly. "The health department actually thanked us, because they said a lot of people get tired of hearing about keeping their kids in car seats," Young noted. "Parents really need to be educated especially at schools. A lot of times kindergartners to fourth graders get overlooked." Children 80 pounds or lighter typically require at minimum, a booster seat, according to Young. Most seat belts are made for adult men, she said. A seat belt should hit passengers at the hip and shoulder, not belly and neck, as they tend to do on smaller builds. Rosey’s Car Seats for Kids orders three types of seats. Children who are less than 20 pounds can use a "convertible" seat, which can be used to face a child backward as well as forward. Older kids, weighing 40 to 80 pounds, can use a high-back booster or booster seat. Wal-Mart has offered the foundation seats at a discount at $40 a piece. "We’ve been really lucky there’s been a lot of support in this community even though there are so many other nonprofits," Young said. "Donations can go a long way. Just $1,000 can buy 25 seats." Sullivan and Doyle note that they did not try and re-invent the wheel when they set out to begin a nonprofit. They began by searching for organizations to work for. The only foundation that came close was Salt Lake-based Junior League, which educates parents and also helps to install seats. The founders of Rosey’s Car Seats wanted something local, and wanted to be year-round, since the demand for child passenger seats is not limited to the warmer months. "There’s a huge, huge need. People should not have to choose between putting food on the table and keeping their children safe" Young said. "The word is starting to get out, and we want to keep it going." Since beginning the foundation last November, Doyle says she has become sensitive to news stories reporting accidents involving small children without car seats. It’s an issue that has a solution, she says, and children like Rosa should not have to suffer. "We may ask the health department to help us give out seats, but I don’t think we’ve denied anyone [a child’s car seat] yet," she said. For information, contact the Summit County Health Department, or Rosey’s Car Seats for Kids at (435) 649-4194 or e-mail roseyscarseatsThe foundation’s Web site is http://www.roseyscarseatsforkids.com. Donations can be sent to P.O. Box 981882, Park City, UT, 84098.
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