Easy riders

A Chicago Kiwanis club helps keep young car passengers safe.

By Jennifer Roeslmeier, eKiwanis Club of Greater Chicago

On September 27, 2020, the eKiwanis Club of Greater Chicago, Illinois, partnered with the Carol Stream Police Department for the organizations’ third-annual Car Seat Safety Check Day. The event welcomes families to get a child’s car seat checked or installed by certified safety technicians at no charge. 

At last year’s event alone, 43% of car seats checked by the police department were not secured or installed correctly per the manufacturer’s instructions. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 46-59% of all child restraints are used incorrectly.  

“Since 2018, our members have been proud to partner with the Carol Stream Police Department to meet a demonstrated community need, which has undoubtedly increased due to economic constraints related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Blaire Sullivan, president of eKiwanis of Greater Chicago. “Because of the generous support of our members and friends of the club, we were excited to provide additional car seats this year that can be given away by the police department as the need arises.” 

To adhere to public safety guidelines, appointments (scheduled online) and masks were required. Promotion took place on Facebook and through the Carol Stream Police Social Services Department, which distributed information to clients in need.  

Eleven certified safety technicians from the police station performed installations and ensured existing car seats complied with safety regulations. If the family needed a replacement, they received a new, installed car seat at no charge. In all, 19 car seats were checked in 12 cars. One family received two new seats — to replace a broken one and an expired one. 

eKiwanis of Greater Chicago donated 18 car seats to the Carol Stream Police Department — seven more than in 2019 and eight more than in 2018. In 2019, eKiwanis held a Facebook Giving Tuesday fundraiser, bringing in over US$400 for the project. 

 “Partnerships like the one between the CSPD and eKiwanis of Greater Chicago are so incredibly important to keeping the children of Carol Stream and the surrounding areas safe,” says Sergeant Brian Cleaver with the Carol Stream Police Department. “We appreciate eKiwanis’ continued support of our child passenger safety program and look forward to continuing the partnership.”

This story originally appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of Kiwanis magazine.

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