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For Immediate Release

Region's Growing Hispanic Population Gets Car Seat Safety Guidance from Spanish-Speaking Experts at Children's Hospital

Children's, TECHS and AAP partner on car seat checkpoint for Hispanic and Latino families

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh's highly successful bilingual clinic for Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking families - Salud Para Niños - is offering community outreach programs to ensure that Hispanic and Latino families can safely transport their children in motor vehicles.

Salud Para Niños (Health for Children) offers both a bilingual primary care clinic at Children's and a mobile clinic for Hispanic and Latino families to improve the families' access to essential pediatric health care services through Spanish-speaking physicians and nurses.

On Sunday, Oct. 16, 2005, from 1-5 p.m., Salud Para Niños is offering a car seat safety checkpoint at Children's Family Care Connection (FCC) center in Oakland, 315 Oakland Ave., Pittsburgh, PA, 15213. More than 40 families already are scheduled for car seat checks. In addition, there will be an open house for the families at the FCC center, which will include story time and arts and crafts.

Experts from Children's, Team Educators for CHild Safety (TECHS) and the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will be on hand to instruct Spanish-speaking families on the importance of properly restraining children in car seats.

Language and cultural barriers often keep Hispanic and Latino families from using child passenger safety seats; therefore, many of these children are at increased risk of injury in vehicle crashes, according to Diego Chaves-Gnecco, MD, MPH, founder of Children's bilingual clinic.

"Many Hispanic and Latino families do not understand the importance of car seats because speed limits are lower in their native countries and there are no laws requiring the use of safety seats as there are in the United States," said Dr. Chaves-Gnecco, a native of Colombia. "It is extremely important for us to reach out to these families in a culturally sensitive way."

Children's, TECHS and AAP have held four Hispanic car seat checkpoints to date - checking 68 car seats and providing 14 car seats at no cost to families.

Dr. Chaves-Gnecco refers to Pittsburgh's Hispanic and Latino communities as "invisible" because he said families are spread across the region and not living in one centralized location. Southwestern Pennsylvania's Hispanic population grew by 44 percent between 1990 and 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Of that total, 33 percent are under the age of 18. Dr. Chaves-Gnecco founded Children's bilingual clinic in 2002 to improve their access to medical care. The clinic has grown to include more than 200 patients and 1,000 visits.

Learn more about Salud Para Niños

View the 2005 Car Seat Safety Checkpoints

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016,

Last Update
June 17, 2008
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Last Update
June 17, 2008