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Driven by Love: Our Car Seat Program

Car seats on ground in WestSide Baby car seat room, to be processed.

Driven by Love: Our Car Seat Program

Car Seat Accessibility

WestSide Baby champions a vision of healthy, thriving and resilient families, made possible by our communal efforts to collect and distribute essential items, especially safety equipment.  

Given car accidents as a leading cause in injury and death for infants and children, with child passenger death rates highest among American Indian and Alaska Native children (2.67 per 100,000 population), followed by Black children (1.96), Program Coordinator and Car Seat Technician, Jarrod Kluk, stresses the importance of car seats.  

However, we recognize there are structural inequities that cause the basic needs gap to disproportionately affect communities of color. Financial factors such as inflation and job security remain a barrier for families to navigate additional expenses like car seats. When parents are forced to do without, this ultimately places stress on caregivers to provide a safe environment for their children. We fill this unique gap in the children’s services sector, serving as a “resource broker” for over 100+ agencies, who rely on access to car seats, diapers, clothing and other items. 

Since 2004, we’ve expanded our car seat collection program to equip families with clean car seats sized correctly for their little ones. Just in 2023, thanks to the donated car seats received from our community and partnerships, we distributed 1,642 car seats.  

How does our car seat program work?

With a model centered on sourcing, purchasing and inspecting essential items, we can efficiently distribute through our provider partners. These items not only support the well-being of clients, but also further facilitate trust between families and provider partners, ultimately increasing access to other services as provider partners and families explore other needs. 

Car seats follow the same procedure as all other items distributed: 

  1. We source car seats from community members, whose children have outgrown their seats. We also receive donations from partners like Dorel and Ridwell.  
  1. Our team processes all incoming donations, with our Car Seat Technician leading these efforts to inspect and clean car seats, along with volunteers like Joyce! 
  1. With an established relationship with families we serve, provider partners place orders, in addition to car seats, through our system, noting child height, weight and availability. 
  1. Every Tuesday, our provider partners retrieve their orders from our warehouse to distribute to the families we serve. 

Tip: We love any donated equipment that comes our way, but by making sure your equipment is clean before you donate it, we can get car seats out to families easier. 

We live in a world that’s built for a “fully formed”, able-bodied adult human; I’ve learned so much about basic needs, how it looks different for each person, including the many components to manage basic needs and safety for children. 

Jarrod Kluk, Program Coordinator and Car Seat Technician

Moving Forward

Jarrod Kluk, Program Coordinator and Car Seat Technician (far left), along with other community members and car seat technicians during a car seat inspection party.

Our equipment program is truly a labor of love – there’s dedicated labor focused on ensuring items are clean and safe, ultimately finding renewed life in car seats. As our car seat collection program grows, we’re excited to reinforce this expansion by adding new volunteer opportunities every Thursday, to join Jarrod and Joyce in processing incoming car seats. 

This work is made possible with our community’s ceaseless support to realize, together, a shared vision of thriving families. Thank you to the community – we’re excited to have another great year! 

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