Calendar sales fund free car seats for families in need

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

A statewide program that has provided nearly 2,300 free child safety seats for Louisiana families in need is back for the fifth straight year.

The program is a partnership of University Medical Center New Orleans, the Louisiana Passenger Safety Task Force and SONIC Drive-In locations in Louisiana. The car seats are funded by sales of SONIC Drive-In's Tot Calendar, on sale now through Feb. 28 at all participating Louisiana SONIC Drive-Ins.

Each calendar is $5, and all proceeds benefit the child safety seat program. The calendars include more than $45 in coupons for purchases at Louisiana SONIC Drive-Ins, along with tips for installing car seats correctly.

Since 2016, Louisiana SONIC Drive-In employees have raised a total of $223,000 in calendar sales, which has paid for 2,300 car seats.

"This is an initiative that our customers love, and our crews are proud to support. It's our mission to contribute to the safety of children throughout Louisiana," says Ted Kergan, owner of Kergan Bros. Sonic Group, the state's largest SONIC franchisee. "The donated seats literally save the lives of kids who wouldn't otherwise have one."

SONIC Drive-Ins also support National Seat Check Saturday, an annual, statewide event in which the Louisiana Passenger Safety Task Force and University Medical Center New Orleans offer free child safety seat education. Nationally certified child safety seat technicians are available to educate the community on the proper use and installation of safety seats.

"These programs provide seats to families in need and ensure the seats are used correctly," says Bridget Gardner, a registered nurse and coordinator of the Community Injury Prevention Program at UMC New Orleans. "Car crashes kill three children every day across the country, and it's estimated that 96 percent of all child restraints are installed incorrectly. A child safety seat is the best way to prevent these injuries."

Contributed by UMC New Orleans and Sonic