The Enhancing Child Passenger Safety in Underserved Communities Act would push states to protect rural and underserved children
Washington, D.C. - Today Safe Kids Worldwide commends Rep. Dina Titus and her introduction of the Enhancing Child Passenger Safety in Underserved Communities Act. If enacted, this legislation would push states to ensure that all children are protected in motor vehicles.
Specifically, the bill, which defines underserved communities broadly to include isolated rural and tribal communities as well as low-income urban areas, would:
- Encourage states to include aggressive CPS programs in their Highway Safety Plans and show their progress by establishing a separate performance standard for child passenger safety.
- Reserve 10 percent of state Occupant Protection Incentive Grant funds for child passenger safety services and education directed towards underserved communities.
“Congresswoman Titus is a true traffic safety champion, and we applaud her efforts today to make sure that all children are protected when riding in a car,” said Torine Creppy, president of Safe Kids Worldwide, which worked with Congresswoman Titus to introduce this legislation. “Although we have made strides in the field of child passenger safety, kids coming from traditionally underserved populations and communities continue to fall behind in terms of safety. This legislation will help ensure that a child’s safety on our nation’s roads does not depend on the ZIP code in which they are born or raised.”
“While we have significantly improved child passenger safety over the last several decades, even one preventable death of a child is too many,” said Congresswoman Titus (NV-1). “My legislation would ensure that parents and guardians have the resources and knowledge they need to keep child passengers safe. When used properly, car seats save lives.”
Unintentional injuries remain the leading cause of death for kids in the United States and road crashes area a leading contributor to these preventable deaths and injuries. The good news is that a properly used and installed car seat can reduce a child’s risk of serious and fatal injuries in a crash by up to 80 percent. Unfortunately, estimates for overall misuse of restraint systems range from 46 to 90 percent.
Furthermore, kids from underserved populations face higher death rates. For example, from 2009-2018, African-American children had a motor vehicle occupant death rate per 100,000 of more than double that of Hispanic or white children. Further, almost twice as many African-American and Hispanic children who died in 2009-2010 crashes were not buckled in car seats or safety belts compared to white children.
Children growing up in rural America face similar safety disparities. In rural communities, children ages 14 and under are 2-5times as likely to be seriously or fatally injured in a crash than their urban counterparts. In addition, a 2017 study comparing urban and rural areas of three states found that rural locations were associated with higher levels of child restraint system misuse.
“Traffic safety professionals have known Congresswoman Dina Titus to always advocate for children and families to live their best lives; this includes ensuring every child has access to safer travel,” said in a statement by Safe Kids Worldwide Nevada members Jeanne Marsala and Erin Breen. “In this case, Congresswoman Titus led the effort for access to child safety seats, an effort that allows families to receive free or reduced seats that are appropriate for their children's size. We applaud this effort and look forward to working with the congresswoman to get seats to children in need.”
About Safe Kids Worldwide
Safe Kids Worldwide is a nonprofit organization working to protect kids from preventable injuries, the number one cause of death for children in the United States. Safe Kids works with an extensive network of more than 400 coalitions in the U.S. and with partners in more than 30 countries to reduce traffic injuries, drownings, poisonings and more. Safe Kids also engages in advocacy efforts to make kids safer at the federal, state and local levels. Since 1988, Safe Kids has helped reduce the U.S. childhood death rate from unintentional injury by nearly 60 percent. Join our effort at safekids.org.