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      ~Car Seats for Kids TM helping needy families

      A program designed by the Albany Kiwanis club is helping Albany police provide car seats to families who can't afford them. So far $3,000 has been donated for the cause.

      Some people see children riding in cars without child restraints all the time. Parents may think one quick errand won't make a difference but officials say otherwise.

      Chief Proctor mentioned that so many times when you go to these accident scenes a child is not restrained properly. It's a really bad situation, said Kiwanis Club President Roger Marietta.

      It TMs a circumstance that could be prevented if a child is in a car seat. However, with prices ranging well into the hundreds, not everyone can afford one. This can leave a parent in a bind.

      Police have to enforce it but at the same time, if the family is too poor to afford a car seat, we want to reach out and help them, said Roger Marietta.

      This is where "Car Seats for Kids" comes into play. Program organizers plan to purchase at least 100 of the safety devices for the Albany Police Department to pass out. They TMre hoping this helps a needy family protect their child, while avoiding stiff penalties from the law.

      Artiszell Johnson with the Dougherty County Public Health Department says parents must not only have one of the restraints, but they must know how to properly use it.

      Place the baby in a car seat. Put the baby TMs arms through the harness straps and make sure that the chest clip is at armpit level. Make sure you do the pinch test on the straps to make sure that it's snug and tight. Then secure your crouch straps, said Car Seat Safety Instructor Artiszell Johnson.

      The seat should face the rear of the car, as if the baby is looking through the back window. And when it comes to wiggle room, the chair should only have about one inch of give.

      If you're in an accident the baby can come out of the seat and get injured or die and get killed. So it's very important to make sure that those straps are tight enough, said Johnson.

      Roger Marietta says the car seat for kids program is only a local initiative. He hopes to get surrounding Kiwanis clubs on board as well.