/ Modified sep 5, 2013 6:08 p.m.

AZ Campaigning to Send Car Seats to Mexico

Safety devices more expensive, harder to get south of the border, state plans to help

The Arizona Department of Health Services is launching a program to raise public awareness about how to protect children in the car.

"A Safe Ride Home" will educate people on the No. 1 cause of death for children in Arizona — car crashes — and help prevent them by encouraging correct use of car seats.

The program also includes outreach to Mexico, where car seats are far more expensive, and less available, than they are in the United States, said Sheila Sjolander, the assistant director of public health prevention services at the Arizona Department of Health Services.

"A Safe Ride Home" will collect car seats, ensure they are in working order, and get them to families in Sonora, Mexico, she said. The program is a partnership between the Arizona Department of Health Services, the Arizona-Mexico Commission, and Sonora's health department, Sjolander said.

The governors of Arizona and Sonora pledged to start a public education campaign about the issue, she said.

"One of the issues that we share in common is injuries and deaths to children because of children being unrestrained, or not restrained properly, in cars," Sjolander said.

Arizona's health department is identifying sites for car seat donations. Once those are determined, they will be posted on the website for the program.

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