Gayle Anderson was live in Pasadena with SafetyBelt U.S.A. Stephanie Tombrello from SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. gives viewers a simple test that helps parents determine if the vehicle’s seat belt fits the child properly.
Gayle Anderson was live in Pasadena with SafetyBelt U.S.A., because the non-profit organization has received a grant from State Farm Insurance, and is collaborating with the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) to bring the “BOOSTERS ARE FOR BIG KIDS” curriculum to schools in the community. The “BOOSTERS ARE FOR BIG KIDS” is a passenger safety program for children in grades K through 3 and their parents that draws attention to the need for booster seats for children up to the ages of 10-12. Boosters reduce injuries by 45% for kids ages 4 through 8. For more information about getting the “BOOSTERS ARE FOR BIG KIDS” curriculum at your school or organization or to order an information kit, please contact SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. at (800) 745-SAFE.
As of January 1, 2012, California law requires that children under age 8 be properly buckled into a car seat or booster in the back seat. Children age 8 or older may use the vehicle seat belt if it fits properly with the lap belt low on the hips, touching the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt crossing the center of the chest. If children are not tall enough for proper belt fit, they must ride in a booster seat or car seat. EVERYONE in the car must be properly buckled up. For each child under 16 who is not properly secured, parents (if in the car) or drivers can be fined more than $475 and can get a point on their driving records.
If your child isn’t using a booster, try the simple test below the next time you ride together in the car. You may find that your child is not ready to use a safety belt without a booster.
The 5-Step Test
1. Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
2. Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto sea?
3. Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and the arm?
4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?
***If you answered “no” to any of these questions, your child needs a booster seat to make both the shoulder belt and the lap belt fit right for the best crash protection. Your child will be more comfortable, too.
Parents, guardians and caretakers should keep in mind that MOST kids need to ride in a booster seat until age 10 to 12. There are several low-cost child safety seat distribution programs in Los Angeles County that can provide low-income families with child safety seats. For a list of locations, please see the SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. website at http://www.carseat.org/.
For best protection, all children should ride in the back seat until the age of 15. It’s twice as safe as the front!
Also, SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. has partnered with the Petersen Automotive Museum to provide FREE safety seat checkups on Saturday, April 6, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Petersen Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Although the event is FREE, SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. asks that you make an appointment by calling (800) 745-SAFE. For more information, please visit http://www.carseat.org/.
TOYOTA-LEXUS TETHER RETROFIT PROGRAM
SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. (SBS U.S.A.) is collaborating with Toyota and Lexus dealers to help enhance the performance of child restraint systems (CRSs) in pre-2001 model year vehicles by assisting customers with the installation of tether anchors. Through the “TOYOTA-LEXUS TETHER RETROFIT PROGRAM,” the hardware and installation of tether anchors is underwritten by Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.
Forward facing CRSs sold today in the U.S. and Canada come with a tether strap, which attaches to a tether anchor in the car, connecting the top of a forward-facing CRS directly to the frame of the vehicle. At least three anchors are installed in ALL cars made since the 2000 model year. Tethers are also used with auto safety vests and CRSs with harnesses for children over 40 pounds. A tether is part of a system called LATCH (“Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children”). LATCH connects a car seat to the car without using a safety belt. All cars and CRSs, except boosters and car beds, have LATCH starting in the 2003 model year, beginning September, 2002. Many 2001 and 2002 models also have LATCH. For more information, see your vehicle owner’s manual.
According to “A Tether Is Better,” a Safe Ride News publication, your child restraint system should be tethered as added extra protection. In a crash, a tether holds back the top of a forward-facing child restraint system. This is designed to help prevent serious head and neck injuries in certain types of severe collisions. A booster seat does not need a tether, because the lap shoulder belt is designed to hold the child. Studies have shown that about half of the vehicles in which seats should be tethered are not. Moreover, in detailed studies where adults attempted to install safety seats, even when using the instructions, they neglected to use the tether. In a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute/Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, only 48% of subjects attached the tether strap in cars with anchors. Of those, only 22% did it correctly and many thought it was optional.
Parents sometimes confuse cargo tie downs or other items in the rear of vehicles for tether anchors; SBS U.S.A. helps parents to check their vehicle owner’s manuals OR reviews information in the LATCH Manual, produced by Safe Ride News Publications to share correct information to avoid such mistakes.
When tethering a forward-facing car seat, ALWAYS use the tether if the CRS and vehicle are equipped for tethering. If the CRS has a tether strap and the car has a tether anchor, hook the strap to the anchor and tighten it. If an older forward-facing car seat does NOT have a tether strap, call the manufacturer to find out if one can be ordered. If the car does not have an anchor, contact the dealer to get a tether anchor kit installed. For vehicles with 3 rows of seats, the CRS tether can be hooked to the vehicle belt in the row behind it. The hook attaches either to the belt latchplate (the buckle tongue) or around the buckled belt webbing. If a tether cannot be used, the vehicle belt can hold a CRS well. Make sure the vehicle belt is in the correct place and holds the CRS tightly in place according to the CRS instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual.
Thanks to the “TOYOTA-LEXUS TETHER RETROFIT PROGRAM” through SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A., anchor kits are available to be installed in most pre-2000 model year vehicles without tether anchors. This program has been available in all states (except HI) since January 2008, and has been renewed for another two years. Applications are available through http://www.carseat.org/ in English or Spanish. Once in the website, you may download an application by clicking on the link for “Toyota/Lexus Tether Anchors.” In order to receive your anchor kit, vehicle owners should send the information to SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. with a nominal donation of $5 per tether certificate to cover administrative costs. You may make your voluntary donation in cash, by check, by credit card, or through PayPal. Additional amounts donated will be used to support Safe Ride Helpline services. Please apply for a certificate online, if possible.
After you have submitted the application, SBS U.S.A. checks the vehicle VIN to be sure the model can be retrofitted. In addition, SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. also shares recommendations for “best practice” in transporting children and offers tips for when to allow children to use forward-facing car seats.
Once you’ve received a certificate from SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A., the person with the certificate calls the dealer and makes an appointment to bring in the vehicle. If a dealer is unaware of the program, SBS U.S.A. will speak with or e-mail the dealer and supports the parent in obtaining the service. The dealer needs to have a kit to install, of course, so it may require ordering and thus, one should talk to one’s dealer to plan this. The kit with the parts and the locations are designed by and available from the vehicle manufacturer. Each manufacturer has its own way of handling the retrofitting of tether anchors. Instead of the customer paying for the kit and labor, Toyota/Lexus allows the dealer to bill them internally.
If you do not own a Toyota or Lexus model, contact SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. for referrals with part numbers, where available, for owners of other brands of vehicles. SBS U.S.A. counsels ALL parents to use tethers when available.
SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. advises all program personnel in child passenger safety to recommend the use of top tethers for children in forward-facing safety seats and to share information about the “TOYOTA-LEXUS TETHER RETROFIT PROGRAM” with clients. You may download and print a certificate application to distribute to clients or members of your organization, by visiting http://www.carseat.org/ and clicking on the link that says, “Toyota/Lexus Tether Anchors.”
PLEASE NOTE: The “TOYOTA-LEXUS TETHER RETROFIT PROGRAM” is not available in Hawaii or for the following models: all LX450 and LX470; some RAV4 and Land Cruiser. Most boosters and CRSs in the rear-facing position do not use tethers. However, a few manufacturers of safety seats also permit use of tethers for rear-facing safety seats. These can help keep the CRS more firmly installed. Use a tether for a CRS facing the rear ONLY if the instructions tell you it is okay. You should ALWAYS follow the CRS instructions to ensure the safety of your child.
SAFETY SEAT RECYCLING
Thanks to the Child Safety Seat Recycling Project, organized by SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A., the Pomona Police Department, and TMC Horizon Inc. Recycling Center in Pomona, viewers can recycle old, damaged, or expired child safety seats, which may not provide the best protection to children during a crash and therefore, need to be destroyed rather than reused.
How do you know if your old child car safety or the “gently used” safety seat you acquired is still safe to use? A child safety seat should NOT be used if:
- It is toward the end of its useful life. All child safety seats have an “expiration date” stamped onto them. Do NOT use a child safety seat that is expired or over 10 years old.
- It has been involved in a crash. Vehicle insurers are required to replace any child safetyseat that has been in a vehicle crash.
- It is missing any parts, including the long instruction booklet, or has damage.
- There is an unfixable recall on the safety seat. For a list of the most recent recalls and replacement parts, please visit SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A., http://www.carseat.org/.
Remember, if it’s not safe for your child, it’s not safe for any child. Do your part to protect all children. Before donating your child safety seat, make sure to fill out the following form in order to certify that your used safety seat is safe enough to use: Evaluation Form for Used Safety Seats.
With 130,000 babies born in Los Angeles County each year, a huge number of old child safetyseats are dumped in the trash, when they should be recycled. By recycling child safety seats, you can help protect the environment and keep thousands of these safety seats out of local landfills.
Recycle your old child safety seats! TMC Horizon, Inc. will collect old child safety seats through December 2012. Seats can be dropped off during their normal business hours. If you have 10 or more seats and are located within 40 miles of TMC, you can schedule a pick-up by calling (562) 692-2700. At least 90% of the car seat can be recycled, including the plastic, metal, and foam parts. Please remove the cloth cover and the harnass straps, if possible, before dropping off.
In addition, viewers can drop off car seats for recycling at the main entrance of the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the FIRST FRIDAY OF THE MONTH. For more information, call (323) 361-4697.
The Family Resource Center at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach accepts child car seatsfor recycling on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call(562) 933-9151.
Established in 1980, SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. is a national non-profit organization dedicated solely to child passenger safety.
For more information, contact:
BOOSTERS ARE FOR BIG KIDS
TOYOTA-LEXUS TETHER RETROFIT PROGRAM
P.O. Box 553
Altadena, CA 91003
(800) 747-SANO (Spanish)
FREE SAFETY SEAT CHECKUP DAY
Saturday, April 6, 2013
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Petersen Automotive Museum
6060 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Please call (800) 745-SAFE to make an appointment
Child Safety Seat Recycling Drop-off Locations:
1) TMC Horizon Inc.
1315 East 4th Street
Drop-off during business hours
2) Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Injury Prevention Program
4650 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Drop-off between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the 1st Friday of the month
3) Family Resource Center
Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach
2801 Atlantic Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90806
(562) 933-9211 FAX
Drop-off recycling on Mondays and Wednesdays, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
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