The Oak Bluffs police department recently received a $5,000 grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to expand its child passenger safety efforts. The office of public safety awarded 67 grants totaling just over $660,000 to communities across the state with the aim of reducing motor vehicle fatalities and injuries involving children.

Nationwide traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 to 14. The grant will be used primarily to purchase child safety seats that will be distributed to parents and caregivers in need.

“With this grant the Oak Bluffs police department can better serve parents who want to protect their children by properly securing them in a safety belt, booster seat, or child safety seat,” said Suzanne Cioffi, executive assistant for the police department. “We can also remind adults that they must set a good example for kids by obeying the Massachusetts safety belt law and always buckle up themselves.”

In April, Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill requiring all children in motor vehicles to be in a federally approved child passenger restraint. The law applies to all children up to the age of eight or who are under 57 inches in height. Most children outgrow child car seats at around the age of five and after that must be placed in booster seats or other child-appropriate safety restraints.

In a written statement, Oak Bluffs police this week reminded the public that the state seat belt law requires everyone to buckle up. Adults should set a good example; 70 per cent of youngsters whose parents did not use safety belts will not buckle up themselves when they get older.

A 2008 public safety survey in the commonwealth found that only 69 per cent of front seat drivers and passengers use safety belts — far lower than the national use rate of 82 per cent.

Contact the Oak Bluffs police at 508-693-0750 to find out how to obtain a free car seat for your child or to learn how to properly install your car seat.

For more information call the Massachusetts Child Passenger Safety hot line at 1-877-392-5956, or go to