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Buckle Up

The Safe Kids Buckle Up Program™ addresses the greatest cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United States and around the world.

In 1997, Safe Kids teamed up with General Motors and the General Motors Foundation to create the Buckle Up program. What started with a focus on child safety seat checks at GM dealerships has grown into a broad multifaceted program, which addresses child safety in and around cars. It also includes activities that advocate for stronger state child passenger safety laws.

From First Car Seat to Behind the Wheel

Since its inception, the Buckle Up program has grown to include four main components:

Child Passenger Safety: Addressing car seats, booster seats and seat belts. Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death among children ages 1 to 19. Our certified technicians teach families how to use and install car seats so children are safe for every ride. This begins the process of ensuring passenger safety right into adulthood.

Countdown2Drive: Passenger education for preteens and teens before they drive. At age 13 and 14, a teen’s risk of dying while riding with a teenage driver is double what it was when he or she was younger. Countdown2Drivewas designed to teach preteens and young teens about safe driving before they start to drive.

Spot the Tot: Public education on driveway and parking lot injuries known as “frontovers” and “backovers.” Drivers in backover and frontover deaths are often family members or friends of the injured child. In an effort to raise awareness about protecting kids in and around cars, Safe Kids created a program called Spot the Tot.

Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car: Heatstroke awareness and prevention campaign. Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children under the age of 14.To help prevent tragic and unnecessary deaths due to heatstroke, Safe Kids Worldwide and the General Motors Foundation teamed up to launch Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car.

The Results

Buckle Up addresses the greatest cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United States and around the world. Its progress is measured by two things: lives saved and injuries prevented. When Buckle Up started, almost 1,800 kids died each year in car crashes. Another 331,000 were injured. Today, the number of deaths has been cut by a third, and the number of injuries has been cut in half.

To date, certified experts at nearly 80,000 car seat checks have inspected more than 1.5 million car seats for proper installation. Additionally, more than 550,000 car seats have gone to at-risk families, many at no cost through the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza; and more than 22 million people have been exposed to the program’s events and outreach activities.

In addition:

  • With support from the GM Foundation, Safe Kids coalitions conduct more than 8,000 Safe Kids Buckle Up programs each year.
  • Buckle Up reaches even more people in need with 118 mobile child safety vans, completely equipped to conduct child passenger safety events.
  • The Buckle Up program has donated more than 550,000 car seats to families in need.

Moving Forward in the United States and Around the World

We live in a global society, where the number of cars in the world will double in the near future. Our shared goal is to reach as many kids and families as possible, not only in the United States – where 4 million babies are born each year – but around the world. We will continue to use all of the experience we gained through Buckle Up to save lives everywhere.