New Study Shows Car Seat Clinics Are Effective, according to Safet Kids Worldwide.
Car seat installation clinics are successful in helping parents and caregivers properly restrain children in back seats, but more effort needs to be made to reach underserved communities, according to newly released research by Safe Kids Worldwide.
Based on data from car seat checkup events conducted in 29 states in February 2005, Safe Kids found that parents successfully changed their behavior and retained their child passenger safety knowledge six weeks after receiving hands-on instruction. At a second child safety seat checkup, 45% more seats were properly installed by the parents than at the first instructional event.
Correctly used child safety seats decrease the risk of death by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers. Injury risks for children using belt-positioning booster seats are reduced by 59%. Typically, more than 70% of child safety seats are improperly installed.
The Safe Kids study also showed that the checkups disproportionately reached highly educated parents or white parents as opposed to less educated or ethnically diverse families.
“We need to do more to reach the communities that need our help the most,” said Lorrie Walker, training and technical manager for Safe Kids Worldwide. “Safe Kids’ network of more than 600 coalitions and chapters in the United States has the flexibility and skills to meet the needs of each community we serve.”
General Motors Corp., the lead financial supporter for the Safe Kids Buckle Up program, and Safe Kids are working to install more permanent inspection stations in economically disadvantaged areas. This expansion is in addition to the 119 Mobile Car Seat Check Up Vans that were designed to help Safe Kids coalitions bring events to neighborhoods that do not have access to Buckle Up’s nationally certified child passenger safety technicians.
“Safe Kids has tools in place to help educate families of all backgrounds,” said Bob Lange, GM’s executive director of Structure and Safety Integration. “We need to keep working to reach high-risk groups of parents with communication and training to keep their children properly restrained every time on every trip.”
Families with older children were also significantly underrepresented in the research. Children who attended checkup events tended to be young—ages 4 and under — even though Safe Kids Worldwide recommends that kids who have outgrown car seats ride on booster seats until they are about 4 feet, 9 inches tall and 80 to 100 pounds. Most children reach this height and weight between the ages of 8 and 12.
“In the event of a crash, a belt-positioning booster seat and safety belt provide better protection for most tweens than the adult safety belt alone,” Walker said. “Children in this age group are among the least likely to be in the correct restraint. We need to make booster seat use among tweens who need them just as automatic as it is for small children to ride in car seats.” The events proved successful in teaching parents to only use child safety seats that meet federal safety standards, have not been involved in a crash and have not expired. These guidelines reduced the number of inappropriate seats used at the second event, weeding out many secondhand seats that do not have a known history or seats that are more than six years old.
Safe Kids coalitions will hold more than 200 educational events, most at many dealerships nationwide.
Contact Mike Livingston at phone: 202-662-4478 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safe Kids USA
1301 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20004
Tel: (202) 662-0600
Fax: (202) 393-2072
Safe Kids Buckle Up is a national program developed by Safe Kids Worldwide and sponsored by General Motors and Chevrolet to educate parents and caregivers about the importance of properly restraining children on every ride.
The 10-year-old program has inspected more than 830,000 car seats; held approximately 40,000 car seat checkup events around the country; donated approximately 365,000 car seats to families in need; educated more than 15 million parents and caregivers; and launched 119 Mobile Car Seat Check Up Vans — Chevy Express and Chevy Venture vans stocked with supplies and equipment to hold car seat inspections — with another six joining the fleet in 2007.