DMH grant

In recognition of National Child Passenger Safety Week, Chris Bryant and other Southeast Arkansas State Farm agents recently presented a $4,000 check to Drew Memorial Health System from State Farm Corporate.

Monticello agent Chris Bryant approached the Drew Memorial education department about hosting a car seat inspection event earlier this year. State Farm is a program sponsor of the National Child Passenger Safety Board, and Bryant and his team were integral to bringing this corporate project focus to Southeast Arkansas.

“We were so excited when Chris reached out,” said Kristen Smith, RN, director of education at Drew Memorial. “The rate of car seat misuse is staggering in our state, and there are not many resources in our area for parents to make sure their children’s restraints are safe.”

Bryant’s Monticello State Farm office served as the sponsor of the free local event, both by coordinating trainers and advertising it in the community.

On June 17, certified seat inspectors from UAMS came to Monticello and checked dozens of car seats for improper installation. They also facilitated official Child Passenger Safety Technician training for four Drew Memorial staff members. “It was a very intense training,” according to participant Jennifer Rowland, RN, patient education coordinator. “We spent several hours learning how to identify improper angles, improper seat types for the size or age of the child, and other ways car seats are often used incorrectly.”

Staff who undergo official certification training must be able to identify improper use even without touching the seat.

“Now that we have four staff members who are certified, new parents can easily have their car seats inspected and re-installed before their baby is discharged from the hospital,” Smith said. “Beyond the newborn stage, anyone in the area can set up a free appointment with a technician to check their children’s safety seats by calling the Drew Memorial education department.”

At Bryant’s recommendation, the DMHS education department applied for and was awarded a $4,000 grant from State Farm corporate which will be used toward the hospital’s child passenger safety program. Six State Farm agents from Southeast Arkansas attended Thursday’s check presentation to members of Drew Memorial administration.

The child passenger safety program’s goal is to ensure the safety of all Drew County infants and children in vehicle restraints, through education, training and other resources. “We look forward to working with State Farm to continue to provide child passenger safety resources and education to our greater Southeast Arkansas community,” said Smith.