Buckle Up for Life: Helping families ride saferclose
Cars today are safer than they have ever been.
And yet, Hispanic and African-American children are more likely to die in car accidents, and are far less likely to be buckled up in seat belts or car seats than non-Hispanic and non-African American children.
Spurred by these facts, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Toyota created a program called Buckle Up for Life, or Abróchate a la Vida.
Since 2005, the program has partnered with local hospitals and churches to address some of the multiple socio-economic, cultural and language barriers to motor vehicle safety.
Trained specialists and medical experts work closely with parents and children, presenting them with vital safety information in an engaging, culturally sensitive and memorable way. Participants are eligible to receive free car seats, and are matched with certified child passenger safety technicians to help install these car seats and ensure that children are properly restrained.
For everyone associated with the program, it’s a mission that is deeply felt.
Said Dr. Victor Garcia, founding director of Trauma Services at Cincinnati Children’s, professor of pediatric surgery and a co-founder of Buckle Up for Life:
“Years ago, a mother who was involved in a car crash in which her child died said something to me that, to this day, haunts me, but also inspires me: ‘If I only knew.’
“The number of Hispanic and African-American children dying unnecessarily in motor vehicle-related crashes is alarming, something I see first-hand in my work as a trauma surgeon.”
From Cincinnati, Buckle Up for Life has expanded to Chicago, Los Angeles and San Antonio, and will soon launch in Houston, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Orange County.
The program has already demonstrated considerable success. For example, the number of children riding properly buckled up has nearly tripled among families participating in a Buckle Up for Life program in the greater Cincinnati area.
Check us out on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/buckleupforlife.