Safe Kids Kansas

Preventing Accidental Injury.

June 13, 2008

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Safe Kids Program Hits Major Milestone - One Million
Seats Checked for Proper Installation

Statistics show a 25 percent drop in vehicle crash fatalities for children under age
5 since car seat inspection program began

Safe Kids Buckle Up, the child passenger safety program of Safe Kids USA sponsored by Chevrolet and General Motors, has reached a milestone no other safety program can claim: one million car seats and booster seats checked for proper installation.

Safe Kids Kansas has been participating in the Buckle Up program since its inception and through our local coalitions have checked a total of 47,246 child safety seats at 1,915 local check up events.

“We are so proud to be part of this incredible achievement, ” said Jan Stegelman, State Coordinator for Safe Kids Kansas. “Safe Kids Kansas has many committed volunteers and community partners all dedicated to saving children’s lives. We teach parents and caregivers how to secure their children in a vehicle the right way - step by step.”

At approximately 30 minutes per inspection, one million car seat inspections represents more than 500,000 volunteer hours - or 57 years for one person working around the clock.

The millionth seat was checked on June 12 at an event held at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Nearly 200 car seat checkup events are being held at Chevrolet dealerships and community locations throughout the country in celebration of the millionth seat milestone.

Significant progress has been made since 1997 when the program checked its first car seat. Statistics from the National Highway Transportation Administration show a 25 percent drop in vehicle crash fatalities for children under the age of 5 from 1997 to 2006 (the latest year with available data). 

More good news has been seen in restraint use. Car seats have saved the lives of an estimated 3,800 children ages 0 to 4 from 1997 to 2006. Of the children in fatal crashes where restraint use was known, 46 percent were unrestrained in 1997.  This number decreased to 25 percent in 2006. 

The partnership between Safe Kids USA and General Motors is the longest running corporate/nonprofit partnership in history to address safety for children in and around vehicles. In 2004, Chevrolet became the lead brand in the relationship. Safe Kids has more than 600 local coalitions and chapters, staffed mostly by volunteers, who provide injury prevention programs to communities throughout the country free of charge.

“Partnering with Safe Kids Buckle Up allows businesses and organizations to be a strong advocates for child safety in our community and a resource for parents who want to learn more about keeping their children safer around vehicles,” said Stegelman. “A million seats isn’t the finish line; it’s simply a good start.”

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children ages 3 to 14, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2005, 1,946 children ages 14 and under died and an estimated 234,000 were injured in crashes. However, studies show correctly used child safety seats are extremely effective, reducing the risk of death by as much as 71 percent. But nearly 73 percent of child restraints are not installed or used correctly. Half of children who die in crashes are completely unrestrained .

Safe Kids Buckle Up is a national program developed by Safe Kids USA and sponsored by the General Motors Foundation and Chevrolet to educate parents and caregivers about the importance of protecting children in and around vehicles at all times. Since 1997, the program has inspected one million car seats, donated approximately 365,000 seats to families in need and educated millions of adults and children through programs such as Spot the Tot, Never Leave Your Child Alone and the Automotive Safety Patch program.

In addition, a fleet of more than 130 Mobile Car Seat Checkup Vans serves communities across the United States, more than 450 permanent child safety seat inspections stations are operated by Safe Kids coalitions, and program resources are used to advocate for upgraded child passenger laws in the states.

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, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Osage, Pottawatomie, Republic, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, 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. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.