2011-03-03 / Local & State

New Investment Will Help Children With Special Medical Needs Travel Safely

PennDOT is helping hospitals and pediatric practices statewide to ensure children with limited mobility and other special healthcare needs can travel safely, acting Secretary Barry J. Schoch, P.E., said Monday.

PennDOT has invested $91,666 in state funds to purchase 111 specialized car seats through a contract with the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Traffic Injury Prevention Project (PA AAP TIPP).

Through the contract, 65 Hope Car Beds and 46 Snug Seat Hippo car seats were purchased. The car bed is a crash-tested seat for children with conditions such as spina bifida, scoliosis and other conditions that prevent them from being able to sit in standard car seats. Hippo seats allow children with hip casts to travel in a crash-tested seat.

Seats will be delivered to 49 hospitals and 16 pediatric practices statewide. Each pediatric practice will receive one car bed and each hospital will receive one car bed and one Hippo seat to be loaned to families and caregivers. The seats are expected to last six to 10 years, depending on the model.

The seats are purchased through the Child Passenger Restraint Fund, which is funded by fines from violations of the child passenger safety laws. In partnership with PennDOT, the PA AAP TIPP developed a course on the car seats’ proper usage for the medical professionals receiving them. Approved by the University of Pittsburgh, the course provides one credit toward the professionals’ medical licensure.

The fund is used semiannually to purchase standard car seats for use in more than 100 loaner programs across the state. These programs are coordinated through police departments, pediatric practices, hospitals and other partners. To learn more about this program, call 1- 800-CAR-BELT.

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