General Motors has a strong commitment for improving the safety of children in and around vehicles. While we work year round to raise public awareness of child safety topics, Child Passenger Safety Week serves as a great opportunity for national attention in reminding parents and caregivers to make sure that they are properly using and installing their child safety seats. Child Passenger Safety Week is September 15 – 21, 2013 and National Car Seat Check Saturday is on Saturday September 21st.
Child safety seats have come a long way over the years and there are many different models and features for a parent or caregiver to choose from. As a mom and grandmother myself, I know it can be a bit overwhelming. Studies have shown that while 90% of caregivers are confident that their child safety seats are installed correctly, three out of four are not used properly. Because of this, I strongly encourage parents and caregivers to attend a free car seat check to make sure their children are being safely restrained. There are many opportunities for this throughout the year and especially during Child Passenger Safety Week when there will be more than 500 local car seat check events held across the country (almost 100 of these with the support of General Motors dealerships). You can locate an event in your community by visiting the Safe Kids website at www.safekids.org. If you cannot make it to a car seat check, you can do a quick check by following Safe Kids easy to use, 5-step Car Seat Check List here.
We are very proud of the Buckle Up program, which is a product of a long-standing 16 year partnership with Safe Kids, GM, and the GM Foundation. Through this initiative, over 1.6 million child safety seats have been checked at 80,000 community events and more than 550,000 child seats have been provided to families who needed them.
There are currently 36,000 child passenger safety technicians that have been certified by Safe Kids to work with families to help teach them how to properly restrain their children in child safety seats. GM has 27 vehicle safety and restraint engineers who are certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians who volunteer their time to work with the public at car seat checks.
In addition, Chevrolet has donated 118 mobile car seat checkup vans that are completely equipped to conduct Buckle Up events.
At GM, we design our products with child safety in mind. We conduct a wide variety of assessments of our vehicles to provide seats, safety belts and child safety seat LATCH anchors that accommodate the large range of child safety seats on the market. Our vehicle restraints are developed to work well not only for adult occupants but also for children in child safety seats and older children who have outgrown these and booster seats.
In addition, GM is actively involved in research to advance child injury prevention in vehicles. We are an industry member of the Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies (CCHIPS), an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center funded by the National Science Foundation. This organization includes researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania, and Ohio State University, who work side by side with GM and other industry members to collaborate on child injury prevention research.
GM also fosters child passenger safety awareness with our employees. One example of this is Take Your Child to Work Day, when GM employees bring 3,000 children to our Vehicle Engineering Center in Warren, Mich. We provide several activities for the children and their parents that promote safety in and around vehicles – including:
- Reinforcing safety belt use with an activity that uses belted vs. unbelted eggs in remote controlled toy cars
- Reinforcing and demonstrating proper belt fit and how to determine when a booster seat should be used
- Demonstrating how quickly the temperature inside a vehicle can get to a dangerous level and discussing the risks of heatstroke and leaving children unattended in vehicles
- Demonstrating to both children and parents how difficult it is to see a child who is behind a vehicle through our ‘Spot the Tot’ activity
Improving the safety of children in and around our vehicles is extremely important to us here at General Motors and I am very proud of our commitment and dedication to these efforts.
For more information about safely installing and using child safety seats in vehicles, watch the GM Child Safety Hangout to hear the best tips from safety experts.