Helping families start their journeys safely across BC.
Sarah*, a new mother, was facing a daunting challenge: getting her newborn home from the hospital. She had just given birth and was eager to take her newborn home. Unfortunately, she did not have a proper car seat with her to transport her baby in and as a result, the hospital did not permit her to take the baby home. Sarah and her partner had recently parted ways, leaving her in some financial crisis, unable to secure a proper car seat and other essential baby supplies.
Thanks to United Way BC and the BCAA Community Child Car Seat Program, Sarah received a new appropriate car seat allowing her to safely transport her newborn home.
“Sarah was referred to us by the hospital and we were able to provide her with the car seat and provide additional resources she needed to support her baby’s needs,” said, Mary Young, Program Manager at Wachiay Friendship Centre. “We’ve helped countless mothers like Sarah and families across Northern Vancouver Island over the years thanks to the car seats and booster seats we receive annually through the BCAA Community Child Car Seat Program in partnership with United Way BC.”
One in eight children currently live in poverty in BC, and around five percent (roughly 9,300) don’t have access to an appropriate car seat. This can lead families to make unsafe decisions such as transporting their children without a child car seat, or in an unsafe child car seat. The unfortunate reality is that some kids go unprotected because their families simply cannot afford the expense of a car seat.
BCAA believes in the power of community and is committed to investing in community programs that pave the way for a safer, more resilient, and more inclusive future for all British Columbians. One of the ways they do so is by keeping British Columbians safe at home and on the move – and that includes the province’s littlest passengers. We know that a properly used child car seat is the number one way to prevent serious injury or death in a crash. Along with United Way BC’s belief that every child deserves the chance to achieve their potential, over 14,000 new car seats have been donated to families most in need over the last decade thanks to the initiative. As a result, this program is saving lives as more BC parents protect their most precious passengers from accidents and injuries.
“This is just one of many situations that families and individuals with newborns seek our help here at Wachiay,” shares Mary Young. “We’ve just had a woman from eastern Canada call in for help with an infant car seat for her child. She recently moved here with her mother due to financial difficulties. Due to a car accident, her previous car seat was rendered unusable, and she had no way of paying to get another one. They were very thankful when we were able to get them another one. Her mother stated that it was amazing that there was a place that was able to help and supply people with needs such as this, as she hadn’t known about many community resources prior to when she lived elsewhere. With the car seat we provided, she was able to go and bring her baby with her to important appointments.”
Due to her own personal experience of becoming a new mother 40 years ago, Mary is deeply committed to the initiative in her community.
“I was in the shoes of many of these new mothers we provide car seats to about 40 years ago when I gave birth to my first child. Circumstances didn’t provide the means to purchase a safe, quality car seat in time, and as a result, I took my newborn child in a tightly wrapped sling in my arms. That memory stuck with me as I wanted to provide my child with the safest journey home possible, and wasn’t able to do so completely due to the lack of access to resources. I firmly believe no new mother in Canada should have to experience that, so I am proud to be part of the BCAA Community Child Car Seat Program, supporting new families to start on the right foot with safe and high-quality car seats. This gives new families the peace of mind and dignity they deserve.”
“BCAA’s partnership with United Way BC reflects the organizations’ shared values of building resilient, inclusive, vibrant and connected communities.’ Shawn Pettipas, Director, Corporate Purpose & Mobility Marketing. ‘Through this partnership, we have been able to ensure that more BC parents protect their most precious passengers from accidents and injuries. We are proud to work with United Way BC in offering a program that connects to the communities in most need, and ensures the most vulnerable community members receive these safe and reliable child car seats.”
To learn more about the BCAA Community Child Car Seat Program, in partnership with United Way BC, or to learn more about child car seat safety, please visit (insert link here) https://uwbc.ca/stories/2022/keeping-kids-safe-in-car-seats/
*The names have been changed to preserve the identity and privacy of the family.