Chicago hospital loans car seats to families with special needs

Some of the children were born premature. Some suffer debilitating physical conditions like hydroencephalitis. Others require temporary casts.

In all cases, standard car seats are not a good fit. But specialty car seats are very expensive, some costing up to $3,000.

Enter La Rabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago. The South Side hospital has been loaning out specialty car seats to low-income families.

“This is something that people really don’t know about until they need one,” says Craig Sjogerman, community outreach coordinator at La Rabida and a certified installer of the specialty cars seats.

There are a variety of seats. Some are more like “car beds” used for infants who must lie down due to premature birth, apnea and other oxygen issues. Others are used for kids with hip casts.

Forward-facing medical seats are used for larger kids or children with cerebral palsy.

“There are many options for children with specials needs that parents don’t know about,” Sjogerman says. “The gold standard is that they are all crash-tested.”

Parents will be taught how to safely install the seats and pay $20 for a two-month loan.

La Rabida loans between 100 and 150 seats each year.

For information, visit larabida.org.

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