NEW HYDE PARK, NY –The numbers are in and they are staggering. Every year, more than 900,000 children in the United States (ages 1-18) are involved in car accidents. That translates to one car accident every 34 seconds. Even worse, research reveals that 75 percent of young children are not being placed correctly in their car seats.
At a press conference held today at Cohen, members of the community got together to discuss the importance of Buckle Up For Life, a program geared toward educating people about the proper uses of car seats and providing them to parents in need when necessary. This is a national, community-based program created in 2004 in a partnership between trauma specialists at Cincinnati Children’s and Toyota. The program is designed to help save lives by going into churches and community centers and educating members about one of the leading causes of death in children under age 12 in the United States.
“It is so important that we spread the message about the proper use of car seats,” said Peter Silver, MD, Chief, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at Cohen. “In every case, whenever I see a parent in the ICU whose child has been involved in a car accident involving a car seat, the one sentence I hear every time is, ‘I wish I would have known.’ Our participation in this program will help everyone know.”
The Rev. Richard Wilson of the Antioch Baptist Church in Hempstead last year became one of the first to work with Cohen on the Buckle Up for Life Program. In one year, he has seen a marked increase in his congregants using their car seats correctly.
“At Antioch, we believe that children are blessings from God and their safety is our responsibility,” he said. “We enjoyed learning about the program, and we pray to continue our partnership with the program. A child is a terrible thing to lose.”
Mynita Atkinson of Hempstead joined the discussion, accompanied by her daughter, Chrstina Atkinson, and her grandchildren, 2-year-old Taylor, Christina’s daughter, and Cameron, 4. She was on hand to share her thoughts about receiving car seats for her two grandchildren.
“I am here today as a grateful and blessed grandmother, blessed to be a part of Buckle Up For Life. My goal is to tell everyone that many of us sometimes have to decide whether to buy a car seat or put food on the table. Or, we might not know how to use this new technology properly. Thanks to this program, we can get the help we need as well as the education. I’m so grateful that on Sunday I can put my grandchildren in the car, properly buckled up, and travel safely to Antioch Baptist Church.”
At the conclusion of the program, Debora Riccardi, DNP, Director of Community Outreach, gave a demonstration on the correct ways to safely buckle children in the car. After thanking Cincinnati Children’s and Toyota, she added, “We are so grateful for their ongoing support. Car seats are absolutely necessary to reduce accidents and to help keep our children safe.”
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About the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York
Opened in 1983, the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York is home to about 675 pediatricians, including 200 full-time physicians, and a total workforce of more than 1,200, including more than 500 nurses. For the eighth consecutive year in 2014, CCMC was ranked among the best children’s hospitals in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's 2014-15 “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals” survey.