In recognition of Child Passenger Safety Week ( September 15 to 21, 2013) and the first annual Buckle Up for Life Day (September 17), a nationwide movement dedicated to improving child passenger safety, we want to share with you a couple tips and general feed backs from parents across the country to bring awareness to the heartbreak of losing young innocent lives.
Car crashes are the number one killer of children in the United States between the ages 1 and 12. Only 1 out of every 4 child car seats are properly installed. Furthermore, due to multiple factors, Hispanic and African American children are 10 times less likely to be properly restrained in a vehicle.
Toyota’s Buckle Up For Life program had conducted a survey to find that most parents are aware of the procedures to the proper car seat installation, but many still put their children at high risk by being overconfident.
Key Survey Findings and Tips
- Confidence levels are high: When selecting the appropriate car seats, 96 percent of parents are “very/somewhat confident.” However, 41 percent of parents are unaware that car seats have an expiration date.
- Tip: Always remember to read the user’s guide to find out the seat’s expiration date and other important information. Every car seat is different.
- Car seat inspection station usage is low: Nearly half of parents (42 percent) have had their child car seat installation checked by an expert. Yet many also mentioned practicing unsafe behaviors, such as dressing their child in bulky outerwear or not removing their child’s jacket before buckling him/her into the child car seat (41 percent); and more than a quarter of parents surveyed (26 percent) have allowed their child to ride in the front seat of the vehicle before the age of 12.
- Tip: Always buckle your child in the car seat first before placing coats or blankets over the harness. Keep in mind that bulky clothing can alter a snug fit.
- Tip: Look for a local child car seat inspection station via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- African Americans are less informed about some critical child passenger safety issues: African American parents surveyed are more likely than average to acquire a second-hand car seat (22 percent) without knowledge of the car seat’s history. Among those who say they have acquired a second-hand car seat, 61 percent are unaware whether or not there was a product recall and 27 percent did not know the age of the car seat.
- Tip: Always remember to get as much information as possible about a second-hand car seat, including the user’s guide. Be aware of technology and standard improvements as well as car seat recalls.
- Hispanics feel overwhelmed by the choices: Only one-third of Hispanic parents are confident when researching, choosing, acquiring and installing a child car seat. However, for some Hispanic parents the research phase can leave them feeling overwhelmed (18 percent) while the installation phase can leave them feeling frustrated (8 percent).
- Tip: Always remember that there is information available for every stage of the child car seat journey.
In addition to bringing awareness to the public, Toyota partnered with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to ensure the message is sent to more homes and cities through providing an increase the Buckle Up for Life funding by six million dollars in addition to the two and a half million in the past nine years.
“At Toyota, we are strongly committed to the belief that driver and passenger safety is a universal need and something everyone should have access to,” said Latondra Newton, group vice president of Toyota Motor North America Inc. “That is why we partnered with Cincinnati Children’s to create Buckle Up for Life. We consider today to be both a celebration of all we have achieved and a call to action for the tremendous amount of work still to be done.”
Visit BuckleUpforLife.org for more details about child car seat safety.