Safekids Logo

1000 SW Jackson Suite 230
Topeka, KS 66612-1274
(785) 296-1223
(785) 296-8649 (FAX)

Jan Stegelman

Executive Committee:
Randall Bolin

Dennis Cooley, MD
Medical Advisor
American Academy of
Pediatrics, Kansas

John Drees
Douglas County
SAFE KIDS Coalition

John Halbran
Kansas Safety Belt
Education Office

Jim Keating
Kansas State
Firefighters Association

Elena Nuss
Kansas State
Fire Marshal's Office

Cindy Samuelson
Kansas Hospital Association

For Immediate Release:
February 12, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Safety In and Around Cars
Child Passenger Safety Week 2007 is February 11-17

"Vehicle Safety isn't just for babies anymore"

Local Safe Kids Coalitions in Kansas will hold interactive safety events around the state during Child Passenger Safety Week 2007. Events are scheduled in Holton, Kansas City, Lawrence, McPherson, Olathe and Wichita. The events will teach Kansas kids and their caregivers about proper use of booster seats and safety belts, the dangers of trunk entrapment and heatstroke in parked cars, and the hazardous blind spots around vehicles. Events will also feature the local premiere of a new song entitled “4Steps”, by the Detroit-area recording hip-hop duo Slum Village, which stands for Soulful, Legendary, Underground Music. Kansas kids and parents are invited to visit to download a copy of “4Steps”, watch a behind-the scenes video on the making of the CD, and take a safety quiz.

“Child passenger safety is not just about babies and toddlers anymore. It’s a commitment that lasts a lifetime,” says Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas Coordinator. “What better way to show you love your children during Valentine’s week than to make sure they are secured properly. And don’t forget that older kids need to be developing their own safety habits as they become more independent. Make it the law in your car – it might actually save your children’s lives,” added Stegelman.

In addition to the safety events, local coalitions will also hold car seat check up events in Fowler, Lawrence, Marion, Meade, Olathe, Osage City, Plains, Topeka ,Wamego and Wichita. During these events certified Child Passenger Safety technicians will provide free safety seat inspections. During the inspections parents and caregivers will be taught how to install and adjust their car seat properly and how to determine when an older child is ready to graduate from a booster seat to adult safety belts. According to a new study released this week by Safe Kids Worldwide, car seat checkups provided by Safe Kids coalitions have been very effective in teaching parents important safety skills.

Interactive safety activities will include:

Safety Belt Fit Test
Children who have outgrown the height and weight limits for a car seat should use a booster seat until they are 4 feet, 9 inches tall or 80 pounds. Use the Safety Belt Fit Test to determine when a growing child is ready to move from a booster seat to an adult safety belt.

  • Have the child sit all the way back on the vehicle seat. Do the child’s knees bend over the front edge of the seat? Do the child’s feet touch the floor?
  • Buckle the lap and shoulder belts. Does the lap belt rest on the upper thighs instead of across their tummy? Does the shoulder belt rest on the shoulder/collarbone? ( Never put the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the back.)
  • Watch the child for the length of the trip. Can the child stay seated properly with the safety belt buckled?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, keep the child seated on a booster seat. Test again in a few months.

Trunk Escape
Children will be taught that trunks are for cargo and are not safe places to play. All new vehicles since 2001 are equipped with a glow-in-the-dark release handle inside the trunk. Parents and kids will learn the importance of staying out of trunks, kids will learn how to find the release handle, and parents will learn to keep keys and keyless entry devices out of reach of children.

Never Leave Your Child Alone 
Based on data collected by San Francisco State University, it is estimated that at least 30 children per year die of heat-related illness after being left alone in a parked car or getting into a parked car without supervision and becoming trapped. Even in mild weather, the temperature inside a parked car can quickly reach levels that are dangerous to young children.

Spot the Tot
Nearly 2,500 children per year go to the emergency room after being struck by a vehicle in a driveway or parking lot. Parents will learn to walk all the way around the vehicle to look for kids before getting in — and to keep toys and pets out of the driveway so children aren’t tempted to play in that area. In this demonstration, adults sit in a driver’s seat and kids line up behind the vehicle; the driver is usually amazed to see how many kids were lined up in the blind spot between the vehicle and the closest child the driver could see. Kids will learn to remind adults of the importance of doing a “walk around” before getting in the vehicle.

Safe Kids Kansas provides car seat inspections and Safety Belt Fit Test assistance throughout the year as well. In the last 6 years, 34,264 seats have been checked by Coalition volunteers and 16,606 child safety seats have been distributed to low-income families. Visit for information about upcoming events. Visit for more information about child safety in and around cars.

Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth, Marion, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Nemaha, Osage, Pottawatomie, Republic, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Norton, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area and the Metro Kansas City Area. Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide , a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury.