California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers statewide are being trained under a $1.1 million federal grant to instruct parents to secure their children properly in safety seats.
"A national study found that nearly 80 percent of the time, children were improperly secured in safety seats. That's a tragedy, because for children a safety seat is the next best thing to a guardian angel," said William Carlson, CHP deputy commissioner .
Carlson said the "On Right? Right On!" grant is a three-year program that trains CHP officers as technicians and provides the tools so parents can get training and equipment to buckle their children properly.
Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4. Carlson said. Thirty-nine children were killed in California traffic collisions in 1999. Of those children, 11 were not in safety seats and 15 were in improperly used seats.
At the late fall kickoff in Sacramento, Carlson explained that the grant's goal is to reduce traffic deaths for improperly restrained children under age 4 by 50 percent.
"A 50 percent reduction in fatalities is an ambitious goal. By aiming high, we hope to make California safer for children who are young and helpless and can't protect themselves," Carlson said.
The grant provides 32 hours of training to officers, who will be qualified to instruct parents and caregivers in recognizing common errors made when they install the safety seat in the vehicle and secure the child in the seat.
The grant expands the 1-800-TELL-CHP hotline that allows citizens to report instances where children are riding unrestrained. A new database of these reports will allow the CHP to follow up with educational materials to registered owners of vehicles reported to the hotline.
- Business Wire