The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Toyota Expand ‘Buckle Up for Life’ to Philadelphia

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‘Buckle Up for Life,’ First National Program of Its Kind, Nearly Tripled the Number of Children in Seatbelts and Car Seats in Program Pilot

Program Marks Third Partnership between Toyota and CHOP to Improve the Safety of Child Passengers

PHILADELPHIA, Pa., Oct. 12, 2012 – Responding to disproportionate risks that African American and Hispanic children face in motor vehicle-related crashes, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Toyota and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center today announced that they are bringing the groundbreaking national safety education program Buckle Up for Life – or Abróchate a la Vida in Spanish – to Philadelphia for the first time. The program represents a partnership between two of U.S. News’ top-three children’s hospitals and one of the world’s largest automakers to improve the safety of some of the most vulnerable children on the road. To view a video about the program, please click here.

Research analyzed by Cincinnati Children’s shows that, due to multiple factors, African American and Hispanic children are significantly less likely than non-African American and non-Hispanic children to be buckled up in seat belts or properly installed car seats.

Key Facts

• Car crashes are the number one killer of children in the U.S. between the ages of 1 and 12.[i]
• African American and Hispanic children are as much as 10 times less likely than Caucasian children to be restrained while in a car.[ii]
• In crashes involving fatalities in children under 14, seat belt use is lower among African Americans than among all other race or ethnic groups,[iii] and 52 percent of African American children in fatal crashes were unrestrained, the most of any race or ethnic group. [iv]
• Three out of every four car seats are not used or installed correctly (across race and ethnic groups)[v].
• The number of children buckled up nearly tripled among families who participated in one of Buckle Up for Life’s pilot cities.[vi]
• More than 45,000 participants have completed the program and over 20,000 car seats have been distributed.

New Partnership with CHOP Is Part of a National Expansion that Is Doubling Buckle Up for Life’s Reach

The expansion of Buckle Up for Life to Philadelphia is part of an effort by Toyota and Cincinnati Children’s to double the program’s reach. The new partnership with CHOP joins other new Buckle Up for Life programs in Las Vegas, Houston and Orange County, CA. In addition, Buckle Up for Life programs are already in place with local hospital partners in Chicago, Cincinnati, Los Angeles and San Antonio.

“We are pleased to see CHOP’s partnership with Toyota expand to include the Buckle Up for Life program developed by our colleagues at Cincinnati Children’s,” said Dr. Steven Altschuler, Chief Executive Officer, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Our number one priority is to keep children safe and help save lives. Together with Toyota, we hope to make a real difference in Philadelphia and increase awareness of the need to be properly buckled up.”

“At Toyota, we are strongly committed to the belief that everyone deserves to be safe,” said Patricia Salas Pineda, group vice president of National Philanthropy and the Toyota USA Foundation at Toyota Motor North America. “Through our educational outreach, Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) and numerous partnerships with leading hospitals, nonprofits and research universities nationwide, Toyota is engaged extensively in programs that help ensure that drivers and passengers are safe at every stage of life. Buckle Up for Life is a vital commitment for Toyota, and we are proud to be working with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to expand its reach.”

Toyota’s support for Buckle Up for Life is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to help make local communities safer and stronger. The company has contributed more than $600 million to nonprofits throughout the U.S. over the past 20 years.

Buckle Up for Life Marks Third Partnership between Toyota and CHOP to Keep Children Safer in Vehicles

Toyota and CHOP have a history of collaborating on cutting-edge research and innovative programs to keep children safer in vehicles. Other current partnerships between Toyota and CHOP include:

• Toyota was a founding member of CHOP’s Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies (CChIPS), a research center that focuses exclusively on making children and adolescents safer. Sponsored by the federal National Science Foundation as an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center, CChIPS brings together researchers from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and The Ohio State University to work side by side with industry members to conduct translational research that is practical to industry. As part of CChIPS, Toyota plays a critical role in the direction and progress of research with an ultimate goal of advancing the safety of children through science, education, and action.

• In collaboration with researchers from CChIPS, researchers from the CSRC, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and SAFER, a vehicle safety research center in Sweden, will conduct a study of a youth ice hockey team to better understand the mechanisms of concussion. This injury is the most common injury to children in motor vehicle crashes and researchers will conduct a state-of-the-art analysis of head acceleration data to determine correlations between impacts and injury outcomes.

• Through the CSRC, Toyota and CHOP have collaborated on a multi-year project directed toward establishing a new national database to track detailed information on motor vehicle crash injuries sustained by child passengers.

[ii] Child Passenger Safety Practices in the U.S., Michelle L. Macy and Gary L. Freed, University of Michigan, in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, September 2012
[iii] NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts (2008 Data) – Research Note
[iv] NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts (2006 Data)
[vi] Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Buckle Up for Life Results

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About Buckle Up for Life/ Abróchate a la Vida

Buckle Up for Life, or Abróchate a la Vida, is a national, community-based injury prevention initiative supporting the African American and Hispanic communities. Working with local hospitals and churches, Buckle Up for Life addresses the economic, cultural and, where appropriate, language barriers to motor vehicle safety.
• Over a six-week period, the program’s medical experts and trained specialists work closely with participants of all ages to deliver vital safety information in an engaging, culturally sensitive and memorable way. Participants are eligible to receive free car seats, and they are matched with certified child passenger safety technicians to help install these car seats and ensure that children are properly restrained.
Buckle Up for Life, which began in 2004, was developed jointly by trauma specialists at Cincinnati Children’s and vehicle safety experts at Toyota. National expansion of the program has been sponsored by Toyota. Additional information is available at

About The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation’s first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children’s Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 516-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents.

About Toyota
Toyota established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants and has a network of nearly 1,500 dealerships. Toyota directly employs over 30,000 in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design.

Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed over half-a-billion dollars to philanthropic programs in the U.S. For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit or

Luis Rosero (Toyota)
[email protected]

Dana Mortensen
[email protected]

Brian R. Lyons (Toyota CSRC)
[email protected]


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