Keeping children safe is every tribe’s priority. Lack or improper use of child passenger seats poses a great risk to children’s safety. You may personally know how to keep your children safe in the car, but what about your tribal community as a whole? Not all members of the community have the knowledge or the resources to use the correct car seat on every trip, or to make child passenger safety the highest priority.
The key factors that impact your community’s readiness are called the six dimensions of community readiness. They include:
Community Efforts. What efforts are currently in place to address child passenger safety in your tribal community?
Your tribe may already have child passenger safety efforts, policies, and practices in place. Child passenger safety efforts include media messages, a seat distribution program, education programs, tribal policies, and/or a trained child passenger safety technician (CPST) who performs car seat checks, among other possibilities. Start off by taking inventory of all the current efforts in your tribal community.
Community Knowledge of the Efforts. Are the efforts accessible to all segments of the community?
It may be that child passenger safety information and services are available to all members of your tribal community. However, perhaps only certain people who care for or work directly with children are aware of any efforts. Your tribal community’s readiness is directly tied to their knowledge about the importance of child passenger safety and any existing efforts.
Community Climate. What is the prevailing attitude of the community when it comes to child passenger safety? Is it helplessness? Or is it responsibility and empowerment?
Understanding your community’s beliefs and attitudes about child passenger safety is vital to creating sustainable activities and programs. You should have a good sense of the “overall feeling” toward child passenger safety seats in your tribe at the start.
Community knowledge about the issue. How much do community members know about child passenger safety? Do they know how the lack or improper use of car seats has impacted community members?
Some community members may know exactly what seat is appropriate for their child, while others may be uncertain. A community may have personal stories that reinforce the importance of passenger seats for children’s safety. Capturing what your tribal community members know or understand about child passenger safety will help steer your efforts and message in the right direction!
Resources related to the issue. What local resources (for example, people, time, money, and space) are available to support your efforts?
Time, people, and money are the nuts and bolts necessary to keep your activity on track. To reach your goals, you will need to have a clear understanding of the various resources at your disposal to support your child passenger safety efforts.
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