Ann Arbor, Mich. - What if there was a way to prevent a leading cause of childhood death, but three out of four of us were doing it wrong? The startling truth is that 75 percent of car seats in the U.S. are installed incorrectly. In Michigan, more than half of children under four who were killed in crashes from 2008-2012 were either not in a car seat or improperly restrained .
Today, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan announced the launch of Buckle Up for Life, the national injury prevention program from Toyota and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. During the six-week program, trained specialists will work closely with families in the Ann Arbor area to educate them about all aspects of child passenger safety. Families in need will receive free car seats and will be matched with certified child passenger safety technicians to learn how to install them properly. The program will be offered in English and Spanish.
“Car seats save lives. We see proof of this in our emergency rooms every day,” says Mott Injury Prevention Program Lead Marie Snodgrass. “Parents are often surprised and overwhelmed by not only how expensive car seats can be, but also the challenges of using them correctly. Mott is offering Buckle Up For Life to help parents properly use car seats and booster seats to protect their children, and to educate parents on when to appropriately transition children to the next stage.”
“We are incredibly grateful for the generous support from Buckle Up For Life that will allow us to expand our program so we can reach more families and keep even more child passengers as safe as possible on the roads.”
“We know from our work with thousands of families across the country over more than a decade that installing car seats can be a frustrating experience, but we also know that getting it right saves children’s lives,” said Gloria Del Castillo, child passenger safety expert at Cincinnati Children’s and senior outreach specialist for Buckle Up for Life. “That’s why we are so excited to partner with C.S. Mott Children’s to bring Buckle Up for Life’s critical safety information to parents and caregivers in the Ann Arbor community.”
Buckle Up For Life’s approach works. In one city alone, the program nearly tripled the use of proper car seats in participating families. On average, community organizations that have offered the program have observed a marked improvement in participants’ auto safety behaviors, including:
• The rate of children unrestrained in cars decreased from one in four to fewer than one in 20;
• The rate of children in car seats increased from roughly one in four to one in two; and
• A 13 percent increase in use of seat belts for adults, from 68 percent to 81 percent.
“Toyota has always been deeply focused on helping families get places more safely,” said Jennifer Pelky, Vehicle Safety Engineer at Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America and Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. “Together with our partners at C.S. Mott Children’s and Cincinnati Children’s, we look forward to offering Buckle Up for Life to help families better protect children here in Ann Arbor.”
About Buckle Up for Life
Buckle Up for Life is a national injury prevention program for families, created by Toyota and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 2004, to help keep child passengers safe. The program teaches parents and children about the proper use of car seats and seat belts and provides free car seats to families in need. Through partnerships with the leading pediatric hospitals in the country, Buckle Up for Life has reached more than 23,000 people in 14 cities, including New York, Memphis, Phoenix, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Orange Country, and San Antonio – and expands to new cities each year. In one city alone, the program nearly tripled the use of proper car seats in participating families. Toyota has provided funding for over 40,000 car seats for families in need.
About C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in all ten pediatric specialties in U.S. News Media Group’s “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” and among the 10 best children’s hospitals in the nation by Parents Magazine. In December 2011, the hospital opened our new 12-story, state-of-the-art facility offering cutting-edge specialty services for newborns, children and women.