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September 17, 2013

It Is NEVER Okay To Drive With An Unbuckled Child!

General_Motors-CarSeat-CheckIt’s National Child Passenger Safety Week (September 15-21), and Safe Kids Worldwide has revealed that one in four parents have driven without buckling up their children. 

WHAT? The national survey, funded as part of a $2 million grant from the General Motors Foundation, asked more than a thousand parents and caregivers of children ages 10 and under if it was acceptable for a child to ride unrestrained in a vehicle in certain circumstances. Examples given included driving a short distance, if the car or booster seat was missing, during overnight travel, as a reward for the child, or if they chose to hold the child in their lap. 

Saferkids-national-child-passenger-safety-week-2The study titled “Buckle Up: Every Ride, Every Time,” revealed an alarming percentage of parents are not always taking the time to ensure their children are safely secured in vehicles.  You can -- and should -- read the complete study here

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death to children. In 2011, 679 children aged 12 and under died in motor vehicle crashes, and a third of these children (221) were riding without a child safety seat or seat belt that could have saved their lives. 

 “It only takes one time to be riding in a vehicle without buckling up for a life to be changed forever,” said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide.  “During Child Passenger Safety week, we want to remind all parents that it’s important to buckle up their kids every time, on every ride.

“Buckle Up: Every Ride, Every Time,” is encouraging parents and caregivers to follow these three safety strategies consistently:

1.    Buckle up on every ride, every time
2.    Talk to the adults who will be driving your kids about buckling them up
3.    Check that the right seat is used and that it is installed properly

Saferkids-national-child-passenger-safety-weekAre your kids the kind who try to wriggle out of their belts? Just pull over and do not drive again until they are properly buckled back in. Cadillac even has an awesome Automatic Occupant Sensing System in their SRX utility vehicle displays icons on the dash to indicate which rear seats are occupied and whether those passengers have safely buckled their seatbelts. You don’t even have to turn your head to check.

Make it a good habit to establish proper seatbelt use as your children grow up. “As kids grow up, it can be easy to forget the importance of taking time to buckle up, especially on a quick or overnight trip,” said Mike Robinson, GM vice president of Sustainability and Global Regulatory Affairs, and a GM Foundation board member. “Unfortunately, exceptions can lead to tragedies. The research findings underscore the importance of remaining vigilant about buckling up throughout a child's lifetime. There is no reason important enough to take the risk.” 

Child Passenger Safety Week culminates with National Seat Check Saturday on September 21. SafeKids.org will host more than 500 child seat inspections across the country, offering guidance from certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians on proper installation of child safety and booster seats. Parents and caregivers can visit safekids.org to locate an event in their community. Not sure if your child safety seat is properly installed?  Find a car seat checkup event in your area this week, or anytime during the year, where a nationally certified child passenger safety technician can help provide one-on-one instruction on installing your car and booster seats.

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