A Hays non-profit has rolled out a campaign intended to help keep local babies safe.
Hays Area Children’s Center launched an online campaign for Mother’s Day that is raising funds to help provide safe car seats and portable playards for low-income families served by HACC in Ellis and Rush counties, said Beverly Cheuvront, community relations coordinator.
HACC is home to the Ellis County Healthy Start Home Visitor program, which provides free support to families from pregnancy until the children are 5 years old. Its early intervention program also provides therapy and other services to infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities.
While both programs are free and available to families regardless of economic status, many of the families served are low income, Cheuvront said.
“One of the concerns we’ve had is that low wage families may be spending all of their money on necessities, and that’s food, shelter, health care and so forth,” she said. “But they’re stretched real thin and they can’t afford to buy some of the higher ticket safety items that are essential for children’s safety.”
“Keep Babies Safe: A Mother’s Day Campaign” can be found online at fundly.com. Donations also can be earmarked for the campaign and sent to HACC at 94 Lewis Drive in Hays. If a donor chooses to contribute in honor of their mother or someone else, a card can be sent to that person, Cheuvront said.
“We are asking people who are honoring their mothers on Mother’s Day to contribute a gift in honor of their mothers, who are so concerned about the safety of children, to help low-income families have safe children as well,” she said.
While the campaign was rolled out for Sunday’s holiday, the goal is to make it an ongoing effort to ensure families in need have access to necessary items. A similar push likely will be repeated around Father’s Day.
Quality infant car seats are imperative to keep children safe in vehicles, and families with lower incomes often might buy a used carseat, which is not recommended because it’s impossible to know for sure if the seat has been recalled for safety reasons or damaged in an accident.
Portable playards serve a dual purpose by providing parents a safe, contained place to set their baby if they need to momentarily leave the room, and they also provide a safer sleeping surface that can help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
“With minimum wage at $7.25 per hour in Kansas, it’s very hard to provide for a family,” Cheuvront said. “So we want to help as much as we can.”