Motoring News

Buckling down on car seats: the only safe way for baby travel

  • US study shows why a child-seat is vital
  • So are its installation on the rear seat…
  • …and adjusting the straps to suit the child

PLANO, Texas – What if there were a way to help prevent one of the leading causes of childhood death but three out of four of us were doing it incorrectly? What if you found out we were talking about something as ordinary as a car seat?

What would you do?

For Gloria del Castillo, the answer has always been clear: Help more families to get it right. That’s why she’s so passionate about Buckle Up for Life and her role as senior specialist of community engagement.

BUCKLE- IN BABY: Image: Supplied

Buckle Up for Life is an American national safety programme sponsored by Toyota and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre that educates parents and caregivers about the proper use of child car-seats, booster seats, and seat-belt crash restraints.


The programme also provides a free car seats to participating needy families.

Since launch in 2004, Buckle Up for Life has affected more than 100 000 people and given more than 60 000 car seats to families but the work is far from over.

With Toyota’s support, Buckle Up for Life is to expand to new cities across America each summer and continues to provide guidance and education throughout the year on


Del Castillo told The Corner in a media release: “It’s true that cars and trucks are safer than ever, a properly installed child-seat can mean the difference between life and death during a crash.


“According to the CDC, a child-seat will lower the risk of injury by 71-82% for children when compared with a normal crash belt. That’s why Buckle Up for Life is so important and why I’m so inspired to keep expanding the programme.”

Al Smith, group VP, and chief social innovation officer for Toyota Motor North America added: “We’ve been so proud to partner with Cincinnati Children’s to expand Buckle Up for Life from a local to a national network of community organisations across 49 states.

”We look forward to empowering even more parents and caregivers with the education and resources they need to help keep their family safe.”

In honour of the US National Safety Month through June 2019 Buckle Up for Life will share expert advice to help families keep their littlest safe during the US summer holiday season – and beyond.

Top Car Seat Tips and Techniques from Buckle Up for Life:

Use the “Inch Test” and “Pinch Test”: After you’ve buckled your child into a child seat pinch the straps near their shoulders. If you can pinch a wrinkle in the fabric, tighten the strap until it is snug. Then grab the seat at the bottom where it is attached to the car and tug from side to side and front to back. If the seat moves more than an 2.5cm in either direction, tighten it.

READ MORE child safety material on Carman’s Corner

Save the Towels for Your Beach Chair: Car seats can get hot in summer but never insert a towel(s) between child and seat to keep them cool. Extra material could interfere with the seat’s ability to restrain the child during a crash.

Just like Sunscreen, Car Seats Expire: Extreme weather changes can be stressful on child-seat components. Its best to check the expiration date on your seat as the plastic in the seat and the integrity of the fabric in the straps can degrade over time. The expiration date can usually be found on a sticker attached to the seat or its registration card.


Secure Loose Items in the Car: Make sure all loose items – particularly summer travel essentials such as beach chairs, coolers, umbrellas and suitcases – are tightly secured in your vehicle. These objects could become killer projectiles during a crash.

Don’t rent a car seat: Take along your own child-seat if you rent a car.  You will not know a supplied seat’s history. The good news is (at least in the Us) that most airlines allow child-seats to be checked-in free.

  • For more information on how to help keep child passengers safe visit for more helpful articles, seat installation videos, and more.

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