The Rocky Mountain Tribal Epidemiology Center (RMTEC) in Billings, Montana recently sat down with Montana’s Department of Public Health and Human Services to discuss injuries in Indian Country, especially injuries to children resulting from motor vehicle crashes. An American Indian child is on average, 4.13 times more likely to die in a vehicle crash than a child from other ethnic groups. These deaths can be prevented by educating Tribal members on the proper use of child restraint systems and building Tribal capacity to implement a child safety seat distribution program. After conducting a needs assessment, RMTEC discovered that most of the Tribes we serve had a low number of people in possession of a National Child Passenger Safety Certification – some tribes had nobody certified on the proper use of child restraint systems. It was clear that the cost of traveling to obtain a certification was a significant barrier. At nearly 150,000 square miles, Montana is an expansive state and travel costs alone can be prohibitive.
Supported by RMTEC scholarships, Tribes are building capacity to keep more kids safe on the road.
In order to support Tribal efforts to keep kids safe on the road, RMTEC located a National Child Passenger Safety Certification course in Billings and offered full scholarships to the course. RMTEC invited all Tribes to send candidates to the training at no cost, focusing on outreach to Tribes with no certified individuals. Four Tribes in Montana took advantage of the opportunity and sent a combined total of nine Tribal staff members to the certification course. The nine staff members who attended were affiliated with departments such as Public Safety, the Chairman’s Office, Transportation, Tribal Health and Environmental Health. Knowledge and skills gained from the certification will significantly impact Tribal communities – one Tribe with no certified staff now benefits from four members of staff certified in Child Passenger Safety. By utilizing RMTEC’s technical and financial support, the Tribes have made a critical choice to build their capacity to keep their kids safe on the road. We look forward to seeing these newly-certified Child Passenger Safety experts share their knowledge and implement child passenger safety programs in their communities!
Funding for the scholarships offered to Tribes was made possible through the Tribal Injury Prevention Cooperative Agreement Program (TIPCAP) of Indian Health Services’ Division of Environmental Health.
A training participant reviews a safety seat manual.
A training participant browses a safety seat manual for installation instructions.
A training participant discusses the need for child passenger safety training on his reservation.
There are many details to consider in proper safety seat installation.