The Child Safety Initiative is a unique partnership powered by the Paul Docksteader Foundation, United Way British Columbia, KGH Foundation and Central Okanagan Foundation that provides new car seats to families in financial need.

The car seats are distributed to families throughout the Southern Interior of BC thanks to a network of community partners who provide social services in these regions.

The Need

BCAA estimates as many as five percent of children in British Columbia – roughly 23,000 – don’t use an approved child car seat when travelling by car, despite the clear advantages of using one. The unfortunate reality is that some kids go unprotected because their families simply cannot afford the expense of a car seat. Family poverty is a complex issue and affects 1 in 5 children in British Columbia.

United Way believes that no family should have to put their child’s safety at risk because of limited finances.

Be part of the solution. Volunteer!

CSI Traffic Control
CSI Driver and Helper

“I love to get involved in local projects where I can see instantly the difference being made, especially for vulnerable families and kids. The United Way’s vision of making a positive difference in the communities in which we live is one which I echo at our Foundation. We are thrilled to support this collective action initiative which will ease the burden for so many struggling local families with little ones.”

– Paul Docksteader, Paul Docksteader Foundation 

The Program

  • The Child Safety Initiative launched in 2015 as a partnership lead by United Way.
  • The goal is to provide convertible car seats to families in financial need – the seats are free to families, funded by the program partners and sponsors.
  • Car seats are distributed to families in need through 20+ United Way charity partners in local & rural communities across the Southern Interior of BC, including Lake Country, Kelowna, West Kelowna, the Westbank First Nation, Summerland, Penticton, Oliver, Keremeos, Vernon, Lumby, Nakusp, Enderby, Salmon Arm, Sicamous and Revelstoke.
  • Demand is increasing – seats were allocated to families in a matter of days in 2019. BCAA estimates that 5% of children in BC (roughly 23,000) do not use approved child car seats due to financial difficulty.
  • The initiative started with 84 seats delivered in 2015 and has grown to 169 car seats delivered in 2019.
  • We purchase Evenflo convertible car seats that adapt from a rear-facing infant seat, to forward-facing harnessed car seat, and belt-positioning booster. They grow as the child grows from newborns, from toddler years through to children weighing 100 lbs.
  • In 2021, United Way delivered over 200 car seats and 50 baby wellness items to 45 distribution partners across 17 communities in the Southern Interior, as well as the delivery of  300 school supplies and backpacks. This was a 30% increase from the previous years that was made possible by the support and generosity of the community.

Read through the 2021 media release here.

5 people stand with several carseat boxes in front of a moving truck with a United Way banner taped to it. One, a child, covers their face with their hands.

2022 United Way Child Safety Initiative Community Partners and Sponsors

Special thanks to the following organizations for helping make this year’s initiative possible:

Funding Partners

Safety Sponsors

Supporting Sponsors

Special thanks to Canadian Tire in Village Green Shopping Centre, Vernon.

Distribution Charity Partners

These charity partners act as distribution centres in each community and refer low-income families to the program.

North Okanagan – Shuswap:

  • Community Connections Society (Revelstoke)
  • Eagle Valley Community Support Society
  • Enderby & District Community Services Society
  • Golden Community Resource Society
  • North Okanagan Friendship Centre (Vernon)
  • North Okanagan Youth Family Services
  • Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs (Vernon and Armstrong)
  • Okanagan Indian Band
  • Shuswap Children’s Association (Salmon Arm)
  • Shuswap Indian Band
  • Revelstoke Child Care Resource and Referral
  • Revelstoke United Church
  • Stepping Stone Childcare Centre (Nakusp)
  • Sorrento Centre
  • Vernon Family Resource Centre
  • Whitevalley Community Resource Centre (Lumby)

Central Okanagan:

  • Central Okanagan Family Hub (Rutland)
  • Childhood Connections
  • Connect Counselling & Therapy Society
  • Hands in Service
  • Hope for the Nations
  • Karis Support Society
  • KCR – Community Resources (Kelowna)
  • Kelowna General Hospital Perinatal Unit
  • Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society
  • Lake Country Food Assistance Society
  • Lake Country Health Planning
  • Mamas for Mamas (Kelowna)
  • NOW Canada (Kelowna)
  • Reach out Youth Counselling Society
  • Salvation Army (Kelowna & West Kelowna)
  • SHARE Society (Kelowna)
  • Starbright Children’s Development Centre
  • The Bridge Youth and Family Services
  • Westbank First Nation Community Services
  • YMCA of Okanagan Association

South Okanagan – Similkameen:

  • Desert Sun Resource and Counselling Centre (Oliver & Osoyoos)
  • Indian Band (Osoyoos)
  • Lower Similkameen Community Services Society (Keremeos)
  • OneSky Community Resources (Penticton & Area)
  • OSNS Child Development Centre
  • Princeton Family Services
  • South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services
  • South Okanagan Women in Need Society (Penticton)

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