Longtime Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) teacher Lindsay Gibson admits she has witnessed too many children riding to the school in vehicles without a proper safety restraint or more simply – a car seat.
Gibson, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Robert Lee Frost School 106, recently took steps to tackle the issue. She created a GoFundMe campaign and advertised it via social media to raise money for a car seat day on Sept. 24.
“We had an incredible start to the school year, “ Gibson said. “We were singing songs, making messes, learning routine, playing games, and laughing with each other. But, it was incredibly worrisome to me that some of our students were getting into vehicles without the proper safety restraint.”
In a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Buckling children in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats, and seat belts reduces the risk of serious and fatal injuries. Car seat use reduces the risk for injury in a crash by 71–82% for children, when compared with seat belt use alone.
“Having spent many years dealing with car seats with my children, I know firsthand the importance of the devices,” she said. “I care too much about my students to continue to allow them to arrive and leave each day in an unsafe way. Within a week of starting the campaign, I had enough money to purchase 20 brand-new car seats for my students. I think that says that our community knows this is an important safety issue.”
Joining the event were members of the Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD), who instructed families on how to install and use the car seats properly. And, IFD also provided car seats for families who had additional children without the safety device.
Frost principal Spencer Fort said the project helps ensure the safety of these students traveling to and from school, and beyond.
“To educate students, we must first ensure their safety,” Frost said. “Mrs. Gibson worked with her fantastic network and our local community to have car seats donated and arranged for guardian education to take place.”
The project is another example of the fantastic partnership that IPS has with families and the community, he said.
“As a new principal to the district, I am consistently impressed with the extensive network IPS has created, and the collaboration that goes into working together to rebuild stronger. Mrs. Gibson’s leadership to bring this project to fruition is a great example of recognizing a need, creating a plan, and bringing people together to create better outcomes.”