Campaign group urges correct use of child seats

The Toyota Buckle Up For Life campaign is using Child Passenger Safety week in the USA to spread the word on correct child safety seat use.

Correct use of restraints keep children saferWith 75% of child car seats in the USA not being used correctly, a national car seat education programme from Toyota and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital is sharing its top safety tips, just in time for Child Passenger Safety Week which is taking place from September 18th to 24th.

“An alarming three out of four car seats are not installed properly. We can and must do better for our children,” said Gloria Del Castillo, child passenger safety expert at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and specialist of community engagement for the campaign. “We know that proper use of car seats and booster seats can help prevent many child injuries and deaths. That’s why the Buckle Up for Life campaign teaches parents, care providers and children about the proper use of car seats and provides free seats to families in need.”

To help parents make the right choices, the campaign advises:

1 Vintage isn’t always a good look: purchase your own new car seat.

When it comes to car seats, safety experts agree that it’s best to purchase a new seat. This lets you know the seat’s full history. For example, if it has been through a crash, its ability to protect your child may be compromised. Additionally, the plastic can degrade over time. If you do have a used car seat, check its expiry date, which can usually be found on a sticker affixed to the seat.

2 Measure twice: check for fit and wrinkles in car seat straps.

After you’ve strapped your child in, pinch the car seat strap near their shoulders. If you can pinch a wrinkle in the fabric, tighten the strap until it is snug. Then grab the car seat at the bottom where it is attached to the car and tug from side to side and front to back. If the seat moves more than an inch in either direction, tighten it.

3 Give them a boost: Shorter children need booster seats.

Little ones can be eager to sit like big kids. However, seat belts often don’t fit young children properly and can ride up around their waists or necks, potentially causing injury during a crash. Such children should sit in booster seats, which elevate them so that seat belts can fit properly.

“Cincinnati Children’s has been a fantastic partner for more than a dozen years now. Together, we’ve made a real difference in improving child passenger safety across the country – one family at a time,” said Mike Goss, General Manager, Social Innovation, Toyota Motor North America. “We look forward to helping even more children get places safely with Buckle Up for Life.”

Since 2004, Buckle Up for Life has reached thousands of people with critical passenger safety information. Organisations that offered the programme observed a marked improvement in members’ auto safety behaviour, including:

* The average rate of children unrestrained in cars (i.e., not in a car seat or booster seat or fastened in a seat belt) decreased from one in four to fewer than one in 20;
* The average rate of children in car seats increased from roughly one in four to one in two; and
* The use of seat belts by adults increased by an average of 13 percent, from 68 percent to 81 percent.

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