Safe Kids and General Motors Foundation Mark 15th Anniversary of Child Passenger Safety Partnership
Safe Kids Worldwide and the General Motors Foundation today marked the 15th anniversary of their partnership -- the most extensive private sector child passenger safety program in the nation. The partnership has grown from a program that emphasized child seat checks at dealerships into the more comprehensive Safe Kids Buckle Up (SKBU) program, a multi-dimensional initiative that addresses child safety in and around vehicles from birth through age 14.
As Safe Kids pauses to celebrate the anniversary, the organization is also recommitting to the current problem of hyperthermia or heat stroke. Already this year, 10 toddlers have tragically died from being trapped in a hot car, with a current total of 504 deaths since 1998.
Since SKBU’s inception, certified technicians from Safe Kids coalitions and chapters around the country have checked more than 1.3 million car seats for proper installation at more than 70,000 events. Nearly half a million seats have been provided to families in need and more than 21 million people have been exposed to child passenger safety messages. Community outreach events are ongoing with a fleet of 137 mobile seat check vans deployed, and more than 500 permanent child safety seat inspection stations in service across the nation.
Other activities which have been added to SKBU portfolio include Spot the Tot; the Never Leave Your Child Alone heat stroke prevention program; a pre-teen safety education program, Safest Generation; and a teen pre-driver program, Countdown2Drive. In addition, Safe Kids coalitions have worked to upgrade state child passenger safety use laws.
“The GM Foundation has been a stalwart partner, and together we have built a solid far-reaching program that has no doubt saved countless lives and prevented numerous injuries,” said Meri-K Appy, President of Safe Kids USA. "The SKBU program is active in all 50 states and will hold 6,000 events this year.”
“Selecting the right child seat and making sure it’s properly installed is vital to keeping kids safe,” said Administrator David Strickland of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Thanks to Safe Kids and the thousands of certified child seat technicians nationwide, parents have access to an entire network of child safety seat experts that can help ensure that their kids are properly restrained – every trip, every time.”
“The Safety Board has long advocated for child safety in automobiles, which is why we are congratulating Safe Kids USA for their efforts in child passenger safety through their Safe Kids Buckle Up program,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). “NTSB, along with Safe Kids, is here to inform and educate those who travel with children about the safest way to transport their most precious cargo.”
“Protecting children is a high priority for any philanthropic organization,” said GM Foundation President, Vivian Pickard. "The GM Foundation could not be more proud of the role it has played in fostering Safe Kids Buckle Up program and in teaming with Safe Kids USA, its dedicated national staff and coalition partners. They are a tireless, hard-working team.”
On June 16, 1996, the Safe Kids-GM partnership was launched at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. and the SKBU program started in August 1997.
About Safe Kids Buckle Up (SKBU)
Since the inception with General Motors Corporation in 1996 and now General Motors Foundation, the program has served as a multifaceted national initiative, bringing motor vehicle safety messages to children and families through community and dealer partnerships. The program offers parents and caregivers hands-on instruction about safety inside the car (including information on car seats, booster seats and seat belts) as well as around the car (featuring the Spot the Tot program). The program also presents interactive educational programs for children ages 14 and under.
Safe Kids Buckle Up provides educational materials, grants and support to Safe Kids coalitions to conduct safety programs at the local level. These networks of grassroots volunteers include nationally certified child passenger safety technicians, transportation safety experts, public officials, police officers, nurses, public health experts and General Motors dealerships.
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