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U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Marks National Child Passenger Safety Week, Urges Parents to Buckle Up Children Correctly

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Norman Y. Mineta

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Marks National Child Passenger Safety Week, Urges Parents to Buckle Up Children Correctly

NHTSA
February 12, 2001

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NHTSA 07-01
Monday, February 12, 2001
Contact: NHTSA, Belinda C. Rawls, (202) 366-9550

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta today marked the observance of National Child Passenger Safety Week by urging parents and caregivers to put safety first, to buckle up their children correctly when placing them in vehicles and to have their child safety seats inspected regularly.

The theme of National Child Passenger Safety Week this year is "4 Steps for Kids."

"Children are our most important responsibility and should benefit from the best possible safety protection we can muster. That's why we want parents to learn the four steps to keep their children safe during travel as they grow from infancy," Secretary Mineta said.

National Child Passenger Safety Week, Feb. 11-17, is a national observance to remind motorists of the importance of buckling up children correctly on every ride. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) more than 1,700 children, infants to age 14, died in 1999 nearly 300,000 are injured in motor vehicle crashes. Six out of 10 children killed in crashes are completely unrestrained.

During this week, safety and law enforcement agencies will play key roles in helping to make sure that everyone follows the "4 Steps for Kids." Child safety seat inspections will be available at more than 1,000 locations across the country to help parents and caregivers. Many law enforcement agencies plan to step up enforcement of child restraint laws as well.

Secretary Mineta applauded the many thousands of grassroots advocates all over the country who will be conducting inspection events, educational presentations, and meeting one-on-one with parents and caregivers during National Child Passenger Safety Week. He also acknowledged the efforts of Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and DaimlerChrysler in their partnership with the Department in advocating child passenger safety.

The four steps of child passenger safety are:

Step 1 Rear-Facing Child Seats for children from birth to at least 20 pounds and at least one year of age.

Step 2 Forward-Facing Child Seats for children over 20 pounds and at least one year old to about 40 pounds and about age four.

Step 3 Belt-Positioning Booster Seats for children over 40 pounds to about 80 pounds and 4 feet 9 inches.

Step 4 Seat Belts for older children large enough for the belt to fit correctly; which is at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall and about 80 pounds.

Studies have indicated that 96 percent of caregivers were confident that they always install and use child safety seats correctly. However, data from actual safety seat inspections show that at least four out of five children are incorrectly buckled.

To help parents and caregivers understand the importance of having child safety seats inspected, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a new Internet site and toll-free Auto Safety Hotline service designed to help families obtain child safety seat information and find a current list of inspection locations or certified technicians in their area.

To access the new Internet service, go to http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/ and click on "Child Safety Seat Inspections." To locate a certified child passenger technician in a specific area, click on the safety seat icon and then the "Technician Contacts" link. This information is also available through the Department of Transportation's (DOT) toll-free Auto Safety Hotline, 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).

NHTSA To Reach out to Hispanic Families During National Child Passenger Safety Week

As part of the Department's efforts to reach diverse populations, NHTSA is partnering with the National Latino Children's Institute and Nationwide Insurance to launch a nationwide bilingual initiative to inform Hispanic families, childcare providers and the Spanish-speaking community about a child passenger safety campaign called "Corazón de mi vida" or "You Are the Center of My Life."

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Hispanics through the age of 25 and the second leading cause of death for Hispanics between the ages of 25 to 44. The goal of this campaign is to make buckling up a habit for Latino parents and their children. This campaign will kick off in Miami-Dade County, on Valentine's Day, at 10 a.m. Feb. 14 at the Day Care Center of the Cuban-American National Council.

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