On September 16th AECDC offered its third class of the year to train young, expectant mothers on car seat installation and safety.  The class was organized and conducted by Norka Torres, the AECDC Program Director, and Cookie Rivera, a certified national car seat trainer.
This car seat program is sponsored by a grant from State Farm Insurance Company.  The funding included the car seats, training on how to use them and refreshments.  The class was attended by Jennifer Young, State Farm's Public Affair Specialist.  She enthusiastically shared with the group how much she learned during a previous session and how useful it had been with her own children, ages 3 and 5.
The basic object of the class is to teach the future parents how to choose and implement the donated car seats for infants through toddlers.  Ms. Rivera also teaches how to choose and use the second stage car seat and booster seat in compliance with New Jersey state law regulating car seats for children from infancy to five years old. Ms. Rivera also taught the participants how to correctly and safely install the car seats to prevent a child from being injured.
Twenty-six expectant mothers took part in the class (several others had just given birth and were unable to attend).  Many of the women are under 19 and are new drivers.  About 95% are at the poverty level or at risk of poverty.  Most of them are not working and many live with their parents who are at or near the poverty level.  This group of women was referred to the program by the New Brunswick High School Pixie Program and the Eric B. Chandler Health Center.  Participants can also be referred to the program from collaborating agencies throughout Middlesex County.  In the future, more workshops will be held to provide additional expectant mothers with car seats and training.
In addition to AECDC volunteers, there were some college students who assisted during the program.  They also benefited from the experience and talked about using what they learned with siblings and other children in their families.

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