By Kerry Breen
On February 22, Atlantic Ambulance paired with Safe Kids Worldwide for a free, publicly-available car seat inspection. The program, known as Buckle Up, focuses on safety in and around cars.
According to Sarah Daplyn, an Atlantic Training Center coordinator, these events are held several times throughout the year in various locations. The event included certified child passenger safety technicians on-site, who were able to help parents properly install their children’s car seats.
“We typically hold our inspection events once every other month at the Atlantic Ambulance Air One helicopter base located at 65 Love Lane in Netcong, NJ,” said Daplyn. “Safe Kids holds these types of events all the time in various locations throughout the state.”
According to a flyer advertising the event, three out of four car seats are not used correctly. According to the Safe Kids Worldwide website, one million children around the world die of unintentional injuries each year, and millions more are injured; car safety is the greatest cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children both nationally and globally.
“Our sponsored programs and initiatives combine education, awareness, environmental changes, and safety device distribution to get communities more involved in child safety and keep families and children safer,” as state on the site. “We work together with communities in the United States and partners around the world to implement programs that will address the leading causes of injury and injury-related death.”
According to the website, similar child car seat events are held throughout the country, not just within the state of New Jersey. Most of the events are open to the public, and can be found in locations such as General Motors dealerships, hospitals, community centers and shopping centers.
The Safe Kids company also has more than 125 Mobile Car Seat Checkup Vans operating across the United States. These vans are designed to turn “any parking lot into a full-service child restraint safety event site,” and almost every state has at least one van operating.
Throughout the United States, 500 permanent child passenger safety inspection stations are operated, with regular times and dates available for interested parents and caregivers.
Since the Buckle Up program was established in 1997 during a partnership with General Motors Foundation, the program has grown to include four main components.
The components included child passenger safety, which addresses car seats, booster seats and seat belts; heatstroke awareness and prevention with a campaign called Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car; public education on driveway and parking lot injuries known as “frontovers” and “backovers,” which includes another program called Spot the Tot; and “Getting Ready to Drive,” which covers passenger education for preteens and teens before they drive and includes a program called Countdown2Drive, which teaches preteen and young teens about safe driving before they get behind the wheel.
The program also works as public policy advocates helping states strengthen their laws regarding child safety in vehicles and drunk driving.