Top Tips to Help Keep Kids Safe in Cars This Summer from Buckle Up for Life

New York, N.Y., (May 26, 2016) – Barbecues, fireworks, s’mores and swimming – they’re summer classics. They rarely change because when you know something works, you stick with it.  You know what else stands the test of time? Car seat safety tips.

However, a staggering three out of four car seats are incorrectly installedi. This is so alarming because motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death among childrenii. The good news is that a properly installed car seat can help dramatically reduce injury and prevent death. That’s why Buckle Up for Life, the national car seat safety program from Cincinnati Children’s and Toyota, is sharing the following tips,  just in time for the busy summer road trip season.

  1. Always use the “Inch Test” and the “Pinch Test”. Pinch the car seat strap near the child’s shoulder; if you can pinch a wrinkle in the fabric, tighten the strap until it is snug. For the “Inch Test”, grab the car seat from the back and bottom and tug from side to side and front to back. If the seat moves more than an inch in either direction, tighten it.
  2. Never add towels or extra layers between the seat and your child. Car seats can get hot in summer weather, but don’t pile up towels in your child’s seat to keep them cool. Extra material could interfere with the seat’s ability to restrain the child in the event of a crash, so it is important to only use accessories and products specifically approved for use by the seat’s manufacturer.
  3. Take time to cool off; then buckle up. If the car seat is hot because of high summer temperatures, take some extra time to cool the car down before placing your child in the seat. Test buckles to ensure they are not hot, and if they are, open the windows or turn on the air conditioner before buckling children in. Never leave children alone in the car, especially in the summer, when temperatures can escalate dangerously in a matter of minutes.
  4. Don’t rent a car seat. If you are renting a car this summer, use your own car seat. When you rent a seat, you don’t know important facts about its history that could affect its ability to protect your child (e.g., expiration date, crash history, etc.). The good news is that most airlines allow you to check your car seat for free.
  5. Secure loose items in the car. Make sure all loose items – including summer travel essentials such as beach chairs, coolers, umbrellas and suitcases – are tightly secured in your vehicle. These objects could become projectiles in the event of a crash.

“During the summer, families are out and about for many fun activities – which can mean more time on the road.” said Gloria DelCastillo, child passenger safety expert at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and senior specialist for Buckle Up for Life. “We hope everyone takes the time to put these car seat tips in action to help our littlest passengers stay safe this summer and beyond.”

The tips are part of Buckle Up for Life’s mission to educate families about the proper use of car seats and seat belts and provide free car seats to families in need.

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 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

About Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 Best Children’s Hospitals. It is also ranked in the top 10 for all 10 pediatric specialties, including a #1 ranking in pulmonology and #2 in cancer and in nephrology. Cincinnati Children’s, a non-profit organization, is one of the top three recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health, and a research and teaching affiliate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The medical center is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at Connect on the Cincinnati Children’s blog, via Facebook and on Twitter.

About Toyota
Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world’s top automaker and creator of the Prius, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we’ve built more than 25 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 40,000 people (more than 32,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.5 million cars and trucks (more than 2.2 million in the U.S.) in 2013 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.

Toyota partners with philanthropic organizations across the country, with a focus on education, safety and the environment. As part of this commitment, we share the company’s extensive know-how garnered from building great cars and trucks to help community organizations and other nonprofits expand their ability to do good. For more information about Toyota, visit

Amy Schultz
(646) 805- 2825
[email protected]


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The proper use of car seats and booster seats can help prevent many child injuries and deaths. Photo:

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