Something on the NBC Nightly News the other night caught my attention.  It was a report on how Americans are cutting back on healthcare expenses to the detriment of their health.  11% are cutting back on their prescriptions or splitting pills, even patients with insurance.  Some are taking their daily meds every other day or every few days.  They simply can’t afford to care for themselves and keep food on the table or pay for the house each month.  These are folks with serious diseases like diabetes or kidney disease who should be maintaining themselves with the utmost of care.  36% are skipping doctors’ appointments, waiting until they become extremely ill before seeking medical care.  All because of the expense.  When they do this, in the end, it actually makes their care more expensive because the preventative measures haven’t taken place and they oftentimes end up in the hospital with more intensive care.

I don’t need to remind you that we’re coming off of one of the worst financial years in recent history.  People everywhere are struggling just to make ends meet, even those who thought they were safe just one year ago.  If they’re cutting pills and skipping doses of essential meds, what else are they doing in their daily lives to make it?

Of course, the first thing that pops into my mind is car seats.  Using a car seat is all about preventative care, is it not?  One of my favorite statistics I grabbed from the Safe Kids Worldwide web site many years ago is, “Every dollar spent on a child safety seat saves this country $32.”  Prevention at its best.  Spend a buck to save 32.  Almost makes me think that vehicle insurance should pay for car seats before the crash, never mind not giving us a problem paying for them afterward; think how much they would save in medical bills paid due to reduced injuries!

Is the bad economy forcing parents to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do?  Like buy garage sale or second-hand seats from a resale store where the history of said seat is unknown?  Use a car seat that’s long outgrown?  Or worse-use no car seat at all?  (Wink, wink, stick a DVD player in the back seat and throw the seat belt over the kid).  Sure, it’s easy for us to roll our eyes when a parent calls from the maternity floor of the hospital asking for a free infant seat-after all, they did have 9 months to plan for this one.  But after the infant seat is outgrown, then what?  Speaking from experience, those first sleepless few months go by so fast and we all know some parents don’t realize there’s another car seat that comes after the infant seat.

The lousy economy affects nonprofits too because as people cut their pills to make their ends meet, they sure aren’t donating their spare pennies to us to buy car seats for the truly needy.  Even the wealthy don’t see car seats as a worthy cause during this slump because, really, when there are so many empty tummies, food should come first and the food banks must be stocked.

I could weave this entry many different ways, but I think I’ll end it here and see what comments come my way.