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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Thursday, March 9, 2000

Faulty infant car seats
may be exchanged

Question: Recently, I saw an article in the Star-Bulletin about the Allstate Foundation giving a $7,000 check to the Honolulu Police Department and the state Health Department to purchase child car seats for about 100 needy families. I am an unwed, soon-to-be mom. I was laid off my job seven months ago. Now, because of my condition, I cannot get a job until after the baby arrives. Even then, I don't know what my job situation will be like. Can you help me find out where I can go to put in a request for a baby car seat?

Answer: Call the state Department of Health's Injury Prevention and Control Program, 586-5940.

You may not qualify for one of those seats, however.

The car seats are given at regular car-seat distribution centers set up in the community by the Health Department and the Keiki Injury Prevention Coalition.

"We can't provide car seats to everyone who needs them -- that's why those channels of distribution have been set up," explained Therese Argoud, project coordinator for the injury prevention program.

Through established "primary health care" sites on Oahu (as well as on the neighbor islands), car-seat check-ups are provided to the community -- specifically, to needy clients who attend those centers, she said.

The procedure is this: People go to one of the sites (six on Oahu) to have their car seats checked. If they don't have a proper car seat -- if it's been recalled or is unsafe -- "then we usually replace them, if they meet (low) income criteria," Argoud said.

Those who don't meet the criteria are asked to make a donation "in the interest of not having them leave the check-up without a car seat," she said.

Argoud noted that the cost of car seats, in general, are "reasonable," especially since "you don't have to buy the most expensive one."

"Decent" car seats cost as low as $45 to $50, she said. When you factor in the car-seat tax credit of $25, the net cost comes down to around $25.

"So it's not an unbearable cost for most families," Argoud said. "But there are those families that really cannot afford a few dollars toward a car seat. Those are the families that we really want to serve with the car seats being made available through Allstate."

In addition to providing car-seat education and installation at regular distribution sites, periodic community checks also are provided by the Health Department and Keiki Injury Prevention Coalition, Argoud said.

Q: Does TheBus company have an e-mail address?

A: Yes, it does: You can also check out TheBus' Web site:


To the person who broke into my car on Sunday, Feb. 27. I am a music teacher who was at the University of Hawaii-Manoa all day helping students at a music festival. After the long day of performances was finally over, I went to my car only to find many of my possessions missing from inside the car and the trunk. I hope you are ashamed. I worked very hard for those things, but you chose to be a criminal. -- No name


To the middle-aged man at Ala Moana Beach. My young daughter and I were "chasing" the fish and acting silly. You must have been in a grouchy mood since you had to tell me that I looked stupid. Keep your foul mood to yourself and don't spoil other people's fun. -- No name

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to

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