Research analyzed by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center – a national leader in pediatric and adolescent medicine – shows that in the U.S., only 1 in 4 child car seats are properly installed. Other research shows that, for various reasons, Hispanic and African American children are 10 times less likely to be properly restrained in a vehicle. Adding to the tragedy of these stats is the fact that many of the injuries and deaths are avoidable with the use of proper restraints like child car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.
That’s why, in 2004, Cincinnati Children’s and Toyota teamed up to create Buckle Up for Life. Buckle Up for Life is a community-based passenger safety education program that educates the entire family on critical safety behaviors and provides free child car seats to families in need. To deliver the education in the most effective manner, we work in close collaboration with local hospital partners and churches. Buckle Up for Life is the only national program of its kind.
The program originated, and is still implemented, in Cincinnati. Since 2004, with Toyota’s funding, the program has expanded nationwide. Today, the program is operating in 14 cities including Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Greenville, Philadelphia, Boston, San Antonio, New York, Phoenix, Memphis, and Los Angeles, Stanford, CA and Orange County, CA.
Over a six-week period, trained specialists work closely with participants of all ages – parents, caregivers and children alike – to deliver critical, interactive safety information in ways that resonate personally. Participants are eligible to receive free car seats, and they are matched with certified child passenger safety technicians to help install these car seats and ensure that children are properly restrained. One unique factor of the child passenger safety program is the use of churches to deliver the program. See why this has proven to be a successful method here.
There is, of course, a lot of ground to cover but we are seeing real results. This program, for example, nearly tripled the number of children buckled up among families who participated in one pilot city. That’s the power in education, in linking up with trusted partners in local neighborhoods across the country and in delivering a powerful message that drives change and empowers people to take even greater charge of their families’ well-being. To date, we’ve given away over 40,000 free seats to families in need.
Because we are aware that child car seats are a challenge for many new parents, we created this website with free and easy-to-use resources and instructions that can be accessed on a mobile device.
Each fall during Child Passenger Safety Week, we will celebrate the first-ever holiday devoted to child safety called “National Buckle Up for Life Day”, holding an event in D.C. to raise awareness with elected officials and other leaders. We also will ask everyone to join us in taking an online pledge to make child passenger safety a priority, every day.
Together, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to make a tangible difference. We need to reinforce that safety is a driver’s paramount concern; that buckling up is not an option; and that properly securing oneself and one’s children needs to become as ingrained a part of the driving experience as opening the car door or turning on the ignition.
Because when it comes to our families, our collective commitment to automotive safety must know no restraint.
About Toyota Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants. Toyota directly employs over 31,000 in the United States and its investment here is currently valued at more than $19.5 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design.
Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. To date, Toyota has contributed $700 million to nonprofits in the United States.
For more information on Toyota’s commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit www.Toyota.com/community.
About Cincinnati Children’s Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S. News and World Report’s 2013 Best Children’s Hospitals ranking. It is ranked #1 for cancer and in the top 10 for nine of 10 pediatric specialties. Cincinnati Children’s is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health, and a research and teaching affiliate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The medical center is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation.
Additional information can be found at www.cincinnatichildrens.org.