Three out of Four Car Seats are Installed Incorrectly, but Critical Tips from Buckle Up For Life Can Help Keep Children Safe
Plano, Texas (March 23, 2017) – In Texas, one motor vehicle crash occurred every 61 seconds in 2015.1 However, a properly installed car seat can help dramatically reduce injury and prevent death in the case of a crash. That’s why Toyota and Cincinnati Children’s are working with Children’s HealthSM, the leading pediatric health care system in North Texas, to bring the national safety program Buckle Up for Life to families in North Texas.
“Car crashes are the No. 1 leading cause of death for children. Correctly installed car seats save lives, and we see proof of this in our emergency rooms every day,” said Claudia Romo, director of the Injury Prevention Service at Children’s Health. “Through our combined efforts with Buckle Up for Life and Toyota, we are equipping families with the skills and tools they need to be better prepared and safer on the roads of North Texas and beyond.”
During Buckle Up for Life’s program, trained specialists work closely with parents and caregivers to teach them about all aspects of car seats, booster seats and seat belts. The classes are offered in English and Spanish, and free car seats are provided to families in need. Community members who are interested in learning more can call the Children’s Health Car Seat Program at 214-456-2059.
“Many people are surprised to learn that a staggering three out of four car seats are incorrectly installed,” said Mike Goss, general manager, Toyota Social Innovation.2 “That’s why Buckle Up for Life is so important. We want every family to have the education and guidance they need to help keep their children safe. We are proud to partner with our friends at Children’s Health to bring this life-saving program to our neighbors in our new home in Texas.”
Buckle Up for Life is offering the following critical tips to caregivers to help keep all children safe.
- Check for fit and wrinkles in car seat straps. After you’ve buckled 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.
- Use a new car seat. When it comes to car seats, safety experts agree that it’s best to use a new seat. This lets you know the seat’s full history. For example, if it has been through a crash, it may not protect your child from harm. Additionally, the plastic can degrade over time in the Texas heat. If you do have a used car seat, check its expiration date, which can usually be found on a sticker affixed to the seat.
- Make sure your child’s seat faces the correct way. Some parents and caregivers may wonder when it’s safe to turn the car seat around to face forward. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children remain in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they exceed the height and/or weight limit for the seat.
- Give them a boost: children under 8 years old and shorter than 4’9” 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. Children under 8 years old and shorter than 4’9” should sit in booster seats, which elevate them so that seat belts can fit properly.
- Call in the experts: there are many resources to help you get it right. Don’t hesitate to check out expert resources for additional tips and advice, such as the car seat installation videos found on BuckleUpForLife.org. The site also offers links to car seat inspection stations or child passenger safety technicians in your community. You can also call the Children’s Health Car Seat Program at 214-456-2059 to make an appointment for a car seat check in the North Texas area.
“These tips may seem simple, but they could make the difference in saving a child’s life in the event of a crash – and our children deserve no less,” said Gloria Del Castillo, child passenger safety expert at Cincinnati Children’s and senior outreach specialist for Buckle Up for Life. “We’re delighted to partner with the terrific team at Children’s Health, who are leaders in safeguarding the Dallas community.”
About Children’s HealthSM
Children’s HealthSM is the eighth-largest pediatric health care provider in the nation and the leading pediatric health care system in North Texas, providing a full spectrum of health care services — from daily wellness and primary care to specialty visits and critical care. Holding eight disease-specific care certifications from The Joint Commission, Children’s Health has been consistently named one of the nation’s top pediatric providers by U.S. News & World Report. The Children’s Health system includes Children’s Medical Center Dallas, as well as Children’s Medical Center Plano, Our Children’s House inpatient rehabilitation hospital, multiple specialty centers, Children’s Health Pediatric Group primary care practices, rehabilitation facilities, home health, physician services and the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern.
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 partners with leading children’s hospitals, community organizations, local governments, schools and non-profit organizations to teach parents and children about the proper use of car seats and seat belts and to provide free car seats to families in need. Buckle Up for Life has reached more than 45,000 people nationwide and has partnerships in 17 cities including New York, Dallas, Memphis, Phoenix, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Orange County and San Antonio – and expands to new partners 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. For more information about Buckle Up for Life, please visit www.buckleupforlife.org.
Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world’s top automaker and creator of the Prius and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to advancing mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands. Over the past 50 years, we’ve produced more than 30 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 44,000 people (more than 34,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.8 million cars and trucks (nearly 2.5 million in the U.S.) in 2015 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.
Toyota partners with community, civic, academic and governmental organizations to address our society’s most pressing mobility challenges. We share company resources and extensive know-how to support non-profits to help expand their ability to assist more people move more places. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.