TUPELO – The Family Resource Center, with the help of a grant from Toyota, has been giving car seats to families in need for almost a year.
Executive Director Christi Webb said they hope families continue to take advantage of their program in the coming year.
Pam Morris, the center’s car seat safety technician, said many families without the means to purchase a new car seat for their child come in to the center for help. But, she said more often, parents of newborn children are unable to leave the hospital because they don’t have a safety seat for the newborn.
She gets calls from North Mississippi Medical Center almost every week asking for a car seat so a newborn can go home.
“They can’t leave without one and many people can’t afford the seats,” Morris said. “There are so many wrecks that happen where children are killed because they’re not in car seats or the seat is improperly installed or out of date.”
Thursday afternoon, Morris was getting a car seat ready for a woman who was preparing to give birth. When the woman arrived, another child was in the car without a car seat.
“She basically told them we can’t legally let them leave the parking lot without a seat,” Webb said.
The grant has allowed the Family Resource Center to give out more than 250 car seats in the past year and Webb said they have applied for the grant again this year.
“We’ve written another grant and haven’t been approved yet but we hope we will be able to continue,” she said.
Families who can’t afford car seats for their children can call (662) 844-0013 or go to the Family Resource Center on Magazine Street in Tupelo. The center gives out newborn and small child car seats as well as back booster seats for older children.
Morris said children need to have a car seat or booster seat until they are above 80 pounds.
In conjunction with the car seat giveaway, the Family Resource Center teaches a 10-week parenting class for expecting and new parents.