Ready by Five Millage funds three organizations to ensure children’s safety

Ready by Five Millage funds three organizations to ensure children’s safety with car seats and portable cribs.

To ensure the safety of all Kent County infants and young children, car seats and safe sleep programs are now being offered to families with children through age five who currently reside in Kent County. Thanks to funding from Kent County taxpayers, through the Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage the organizations are providing car seats, and portable cribs, along with the training necessary for families who meet income qualifications.

“Proper safe sleep and car seat education is critical – it can be the difference between life or death,” said Emily VandenBos, Early Childhood Community Coordinator for Family Futures. “We hope that we can make a difference in the lives of as many families as possible through this important effort.”

According to the State of Michigan, sleep-related infant deaths are the leading cause of death among babies in Michigan. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for young children, and properly restrained children have a more than 50 percent greater chance of surviving a crash.

The Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage is funding resources for child safety, including car seats and portable crib sleeping options. The three programs that were approved for funding include: 

Bethany Christian Services | Bethany provides one-on-one parent safety education to cultural and language diverse families in Kent County with a focus on infant safe sleep and car seat safety. Bethany engages and educates qualified individuals from within the various cultural communities to provide in-person training to parents and caregivers. Bethany can provide approved portable cribs and car seats to eligible caregivers who receive individual consultation and education to ensure that they understand and can demonstrate the proper installation of car seats as well as infant safe sleep practices in accordance with the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. Services are offered for culturally or linguistically diverse families with children through the age of five who currently reside in Kent County. For questions about Bethany's Child Safety Initiative program, call 616.240.7996.               

Cherry Health | Cherry Health equips parents and caregivers with young children with the resources and education they need to ensure their children have safe, age-appropriate car seats and a safe place to sleep. The Child Safety Passenger Program includes a 30-minute appointment where a team member will provide personalized instructions to families on how to properly use car seats and watch to ensure caregivers correctly install a car seat, convertible, or booster seat. Cherry Health offers additional resources for pregnant women, new mothers, and their children, including Strong Beginnings and Maternal Infant Health Programs. Cherry Health provides comprehensive, quality, affordable health care to everyone, including Women’s Health and Pediatric services, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. The best way to reach out to Cherry Health's Child Safety Passenger Program is to email

Family Futures | Family Futures is working to increase the availability of safe sleeping options and car seats for families who are unable to afford these options. They will provide education to parents on evidence-based practices and protective factors associated with safe sleep environments and automobile safety for infants. These practices are aligned with the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. To learn more about or enroll in this program, visit their website.

The three programs are available to all children through age five currently living in Kent County and whose household income is below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.

The child safety programs presented by Bethany Christian Services, Cherry Health, and Family Futures aim to provide resources to maintain a safer environment for underserved families in Kent County. The three organizations can provide these items for families thanks to the generous support of the Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage. To learn more about the millage, go to

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