New Safety Reforms Make Child Car Seats Compulsory

As awful as it is hearing about a child that was killed in a car crash, it's even worse to hear that many of these deaths were likely preventable. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a study of vehicle crashes from 2011 that found that more than a third of kids (under the age of 13) who were killed in these crashes were not wearing seat belts or strapped into a car seat. Furthermore, another study from General Motors shows that a quarter of parents and caregivers drive around with unbuckled kids in the car.

Released as a part of National Child Passenger Safety Week, which ends tomorrow, NHTSA's goal is to bring attention to child safety inside the car. According to the study, car crashes are a leading cause of death for children, and it has set up a website to make sure kids are buckled in properly. The helpful site lists car seat inspection stations as well as car seat recommendations for rear-facing, forward-facing and booster child seats. Both studies (from NHTSA and GM) are posted below.
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NHTSA Finds More Than a Third of Children Killed in Crashes Were Not in Car Seats or Wearing Seat Belts

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than a third of children under age 13 who died in passenger vehicle crashes in 2011 were not in car seats or wearing seat belts. To help eliminate these deaths, and as part of Child Passenger Safety Week, NHTSA is highlighting the important safety benefits associated with the proper use of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.

"Safety is our top priority, particularly when it comes to protecting our children – who are our most vulnerable passengers," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "Parents and caregivers can be the first line of defense by ensuring their children are correctly secured in the right seat for their size and age, and by buckling up themselves."

Motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death for children. In 2011, almost two children under the age of 13 were killed and 338 were injured every day while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups and vans. Of the children killed, the percentage of unrestrained fatalities, with no car seat or seat belt, varied by vehicle type, with greater percentages of unrestrained fatalities occurring in larger vehicles: SUVs (55 percent), pick-ups (43 percent), vans (40 percent), and cars (24 percent).

"Regardless of the size of the vehicle, the age of the child or the length of the trip, children should always be properly restrained in a car seat, booster or seat belt," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "Car seats, when correctly installed and used, provide proven life-saving and injury-reducing benefits for child passengers."

From 1975 through 2011, NHTSA estimates that approximately 10,000 lives were saved by child restraints for children under the age of 5 in passenger vehicles, with more than 260 lives saved in 2011 alone.

NHTSA offers parents and caregivers the following safety tips:

-Determine if your child is in the right seat for his or her age and size;
-Read the instructions and labels that come with your child's car seat and read the vehicle owner's manual for important information on installing the seat in your particular vehicle;
-Go to your local car seat inspection station to have your seat checked by a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician;
-Use the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) restraint system or seat belt to install your car seat and use the top tether to secure forward-facing car seats;
-Register your car seat and booster seat at SaferCar.gov so you will be informed if there is a safety recall on your model; and
-Always wear your seat belt to set a good example. Unbuckled drivers are more likely to have unrestrained children in the car.
-Child Passenger Safety Week is September 15 through September 21, with the final day of the week (Sept. 21) recognized as National Seat Check Saturday. Throughout the week, at more than 600 events in 45 states across the country, certified child passenger safety technicians will inspect car seats and show parents and caregivers how to correctly install and use them. In most cases, this service is free of charge.

Parents and caregivers can visit SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat to determine if your child is in the right seat for his or her age and size and to locate a car seat check event in your area.

Additional information on child passenger safety can be found in NHTSA's latest issue of SAFETY 1N NUM3ERS, an online monthly newsletter on hot topics in auto safety – including problem identification, people at risk and recommended practices and solutions to mitigate injury and death on our nation's roadways.
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General Motors
Study: 1 in 4 Parents Drive with Children Unsecured in Vehicle

New Safe Kids Worldwide report made possible by a $2 million GM Foundation grant

DETROIT – One in four parents and caregivers responding to a Safe Kids Worldwide survey said they have driven without making sure their children are safely secured in vehicles.

The report, funded as part of a $2 million grant from the General Motors Foundation, is based on a national online survey of 1,002 parents and caregivers of children ages 10 and under. It reveals that one in four parents admit to having driven without their child buckled up in a car seat or booster seat.

Safe Kids released "Buckle Up: Every Ride, Every Time," today as part of National Child Passenger Safety Week, which began Sunday and continues through September 21.
"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."

About Safe Kids Worldwide
Safe Kids Worldwide is a global network of organizations dedicated to providing parents and caregivers with practical and proven resources to protect kids from unintentional injuries, the number one cause of death to children in the United States. Throughout the world, almost one million children die of an injury each year, and almost all of these tragedies are preventable. Safe Kids works with an extensive network of more than 600 coalitions in the United States and in 23 countries to reduce traffic injuries, drownings, falls, burns, poisonings and more. Since 1988, Safe Kids has helped reduce the U.S. childhood death rate from unintentional injury by 55 percent. Working together, we can do much more for kids everywhere. Join our effort at safekids.org.

About General Motors Foundation
Since its inception in 1976, the GM Foundation has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to American charities, educational organizations and to disaster relief efforts worldwide. The GM Foundation focuses on supporting Education, Health and Human Services, Environment and Energy and Community Development initiatives, mainly in the communities where GM operates. Funding of the GM Foundation comes solely from GM. The last contribution to the GM Foundation was made in 2001. For more information, visit www.gm.com/gmfoundation.