The program, which is led by Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services, this month received an initial award of 50 car seats and educational materials valued at $3,000.
The grant is distributed by the Georgia Department of Community Health's Injury Prevention Program and is funded by the Governor's Office for Highway Safety.
Along with administering car seats to parents and guardians who are eligible for Medicaid, PeachCare and the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, Safe Kids will also provide educational training and technical support.
"Three out of every four car seats are not properly used," said health department spokeswoman Joye Burton. "By combining education with the provision of car seats, the mini-grant helps families in Cherokee County get their children buckled up right, every trip, every time."
Capt. Chad Arp, senior fire safety educator with Cherokee Fire-ES and Safe Kids coordinator, said the grant will greatly expand the program that already provides similar services.
"About 50 percent of babies born in Georgia are Medicaid-eligible so there is a great need," he said, adding that of the 4,000 children younger than 5 treated by the county health department, 80 percent are on WIC.
Interested residents can contact Arp in the Life Safety Division of the Public Education Office at the Cherokee County Administration Building in Canton to sign up for the program or receive more information.
Clients, he said, are required to attend a short educational class where they learn about the importance of using a car seat or booster seat and how to use it correctly. This includes receiving hands-on instruction with the new seat from a certified child passenger safety technician.
The first class will be held on Feb. 23. A $10 fee will be asked from the parents attending the class.
The state health department anticipates being able to fulfill requests for car seats across all 138 participating counties including Cherokee for the remainder of the year.
The health department will also pursue grant opportunities to continue funding the program in 2012, Arp said.
Cherokee County Fire Chief Raymond Gunnin said it is hard to put a dollar value on the grant.
"For me as chief, there is nothing more important that we do than help protect the children of the county," he said. "If we can save one life, then everything we do is worth all that is put into this program."