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Community Story: Holly Choi, Safe Beginnings

April 28, 2022

How Jane assisted Safe Beginnings to scale, allowing them to help more families learn baby and toddler car safety.

Holly Choi is a Child Passenger Safety Technician-Instructor (CPST-I), first aid instructor, and co-owner of Safe Beginnings First Aid and Safer Seats. She is a leader in childhood injury prevention education in North America. Holly discovered her passion for teaching and mentoring while training clinicians and their support staff in the medical software field. Since 2016, Safe Beginnings has educated over 35,000 caregivers and professionals with essential lifesaving skills for small children. Holly’s popular Instagram account, @safebeginnings, provides accessible baby and toddler injury prevention information to a community of over 65,000 parents worldwide.

We’re so excited to have spent some time chatting with Holly about her story and the work she is doing to empower parents and caregivers to look after little ones.

Tell us a little about your background?

I was working in the Medical Software field, and during my first maternity leave in 2015, I became certified as a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) with the Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada.

Being a first aid instructor focused on the baby and toddler years, I already had a keen interest in baby and toddler safety. Becoming a certified CPST was a perfect fit for me to supplement the existing child safety education that I was already providing to parents through my Infant/Child CPR, Choking and Injury Prevention workshops.

Can you tell us a little bit more about what a Child Passenger Safety Technician does?

CPSTs are trained in the correct installation and usage of child restraints (car seats and boosters). Our goal is to help caregivers gain confidence with their car seat installation and usage, and leave them equipped with essential lifesaving skills for small children.

How did Safer Seats begin?

It started from my desire to volunteer in my community and my long-term goal to help shift the culture of child passenger safety towards a norm of proper use. I wanted to ensure caregivers understood the importance of child passenger safety in their everyday lives.

I launched the Safer Seats website as a way for caregivers to easily access my assistance. Within a few months of volunteering, I found myself assisting upwards of three to four families each day and I volunteered with as many as 15 families per week.

Since then, Safer Seats has grown into a dedicated group of certified technicians across the Greater Vancouver area. We are all certified through the Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada (CPSAC) and operate individually as volunteers.

Why did you decide you wanted to do the work that you do?

When I became a certified CPST in 2015, I did not fully understand how great the need for car seat checks was in my community. At the time of being certified, I was the only technician operating in my community, and it very quickly became daunting trying to keep up with appointments. However, it’s this need that has kept me volunteering all these years. Families need access to safety resources.

There are some astounding statistics on utilizing car seat safety for injury prevention. The Canadian Paediatric Society released a statement that stuck with me; “When used correctly, car seats reduce the risk of death by 71% for infants and by 54% for children one to four years of age, and reduce the risk of hospitalization in children age four and under by 67%. Booster seats provide 59% more protection for young children than seat belts alone. Yet it is estimated that anywhere from 44% to 81% of car seats are not used correctly and that nearly three-quarters of Canadian children four to nine years of age are not transported in booster seats.”

🔍 As a child safety educator, my goal is always to get resources into the hands of the families that need them. In the case of car seats, I recognized this as a unique opportunity to give back to my community in a way that could make a lasting impact.

I rarely see even close to 10% of car seats being used correctly when caregivers arrive at a car seat check appointment. In my workshops, I am known for saying, “there is one thing designed to save our children from the thing that’s actually taking them away from us, and we’re not using them properly. No one does this on purpose, but we need to take it seriously”.

What has been your proudest accomplishment to date?

Between September 2020 and May 2021, I have been featured three times as a child safety expert in Forbes Magazine. In January 2021, I was featured specifically relating to car seat safety, which as you know is near and dear to my heart. Being able to shine a light on such an important, but often overlooked issue on such a large scale was amazing.

Tell us how you heard of us and why you ended up running with Jane?

I actually heard of Jane way back in my previous career in medical software. I always admired Jane’s aesthetics, but then it turned out that Jane was far superior to the software I was working with, and the ease of use I’d experienced personally as a client really sealed the deal.

A technician candidate in one of my 2019 CPST training courses is a Jane user at a physical therapy clinic and he thought it would be great for us to reach out to see if Jane would be a good fit for our volunteer work.

Lucky for us it was! We ended up being a fit for Jane’s bursary program, which helped us afford to scale, grow and continue to do the work we do in our communities for free.

🎤 Jane Team Shoutout: We’re always amazed by the selflessness of our community. If you’re a registered charity, a nonprofit, or currently offer your services for free (or a mix of free and discounted services), you may be eligible for a Jane bursary. Providing you with a free subscription or reduced rate is our way of saying thank you for the amazing work you do. Please apply here, or reach out to our team to learn more about the eligibility requirements.

How long have you been using Jane?

We’ve now been using Jane for nearly three years and it’s been life-changing for all of us. We no longer have to waste time emailing back and forth with caregivers to arrange a time: they simply log onto the booking website and select from the available appointments.

If technicians need to take a break from volunteering, they can remove themselves from the online booking website and come back when they’re able to volunteer again. It’s removed all the tedious manual work from the process, giving us all more time to focus on helping families.

What is your favourite Jane feature?

Intake forms! The more we know about a caregiver’s situation in advance, the better we can be prepared for their appointment with us. Knowing the car seat details, vehicle details, and child details can help us anticipate any difficulties that may arise during a seat check and if special equipment will be needed in advance of the appointment.

📣 Jane Team Shoutout: Did you know you know that on top of collecting consent and client information prior to treatment, you can now collect client Insurance information in your intake forms too? Check out our Guide Collect Insurance Information in Intake Forms From Your Clients 📸

What would you tell someone considering Jane for their practice/business?

If we weren’t using Jane, I don’t know if we’d be able to help as many people as we currently do. Aside from the obvious benefits of an electronic system (collecting contact information, statistics, collaboration between practitioners), it’s just been a huge time saver.

Resources from Holly

Want to share your story with us or interested in learning more about becoming a Jane Ambassador? Send an email to [email protected]

If you’re not already part of the Jane community, welcome! We’re so glad you found us. If you’re in search of Practice Management software to help run your practice, we’d love for you to meet Jane. Take a virtual tour,  book a demo with one of our lovely support staff, or sign up here! Or, check out what our customers are saying about us in the jane.app Community Forum. We can’t wait to chat.

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