Department of Community Health Promotes Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week

February 8, 2002

Michigan Department of Community Health Director James K. Haveman, Jr., today urged parents and care givers to take the time to learn how to correctly use a car seat in order to protect the lives of Michigan's children as he kicked off Child Passenger Safety Week, which runs in Michigan from February 10 through 16.

"Injury is the leading cause of death to children of all ages," said Haveman. "Car seats are extremely effective when correctly used and installed, reducing the risk of death by 71 percent for infants under age one and by 54 percent for toddlers ages one to four."

During Child Passenger Safety Week, the Department of Community Health and the Michigan SAFE KIDS Coalition will increase public awareness about the importance of properly restraining children on every ride. As part of the Campaign's partnership with General Motors through SAFE KIDS BUCKLE UP, Coalitions will host Car Seat Check Ups at sites statewide to teach parents and care givers about proper car seat installation.

Michigan has done a great deal to promote child passenger safety and various programs are in place to ensure child safety seats are made available to families in need. In fiscal year 200 nearly 9,000 child safety seats were checked by the Michigan Department of Community Health and Michigan SAFE KIDS Coalitions and nearly 4,000 safety seats were distributed at Car Seat Check Ups. The Department of Community Health also distributed 2,405 child safety seats to families with financial need through give-away or loaner programs.
"Many parents have told us that they didn't know they were using car seats incorrectly until they came to the car seat check-up and were shown the proper way to protect their children," said Haveman. "These seemingly small mistakes could lead to tragic consequences for children and families." Common errors include: not securing the seat tightly to the vehicle; not securing the child tightly in the seat; or not using the appropriate seat for the child's height and weight.

Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 14 and under in Michigan. Each year, almost 60 children die and an additional 9,400 are injured as occupants of motor vehicles.

Michigan SAFE KIDS Coalition and Chapters will hold Car Seat Check Up events at the following locations:

Lansing, Monday, February 11, at Glenn Buege Buick, 3625 S. Pennsylvania, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. For information call (517) 335-8131.

Lansing, Saturday February 16, Cristo Rey Community Center, 1717 N. High Street, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Holland, Monday February 11, at Crown Motors, 196 Regent Blvd., from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. To schedule an appointment call (616) 738-6096.

Holland, Saturday February 16, at Toys "R" Us, 2353 N. Park Dr., from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. This event will be a demonstration only.

New Era, Monday February 11, at Steve Rogers Ford/Mercury, 3001 M-20, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. For information call (231) 873-2193.

Portage, Monday February 11, at Chuck E. Cheese's, 6175 W. Westnedge, from 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. This event will be a demonstration only.

Kalamazoo, Tuesday, February 12, at Peter Piper's Pizza, 4405 S. Westnedge, from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. This event will be a demonstration only.

Wyoming, Tuesday February 12, Wyoming Fire Department, 1500 Burton, from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. To schedule an appointment call (616) 391-3563.

Saginaw, Wednesday February 13 and Saturday February 16, Toys "R" Us, 2800 Tittabawassee Road, from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. These events will be demonstration only.

Big Rapids, Saturday, February 16, Quality Car and Truck Repair, 14905 220th Avenue, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.