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FOR RELEASE: May 11, 2000
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Free Car Seat Check Scheduled in Oklahoma City

A free Child Safety Seat Check-Up is scheduled for Thursday, May 18, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Children's Hospital of Oklahoma, 940 N.E.14th St. The event is sponsored by the Oklahoma SAFE KIDS Coalition, State Farm Insurance, KFOR-TV, Hudiburg Auto Group, and Delta Sigma Theta.

The event will be held on the first floor of the five-story parking garage on the southeast corner of Northeast 13th and Stonewall. Parents should look for signage directing them to the entrance.

Surveys indicate that at least 38 percent of Oklahoma children still ride unrestrained. Of those children who are buckled up, four out of five are not restrained correctly, according to SAFE KIDS, a program of the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

"Most of the deaths and injuries occurring to children in motor vehicles can be prevented by using car seats and safety belts correctly," said Martha Collar, coalition coordinator. "This is a great opportunity to work one-on-one with parents who may be confused about the safest way to properly secure their child in a vehicle."

Nationwide, nearly 1,400 children die each year as motor vehicle passengers, and an additional 280,000 are injured. Car seats are extremely effective when properly used and installed, reducing the risk of death by 71 percent. It is estimated that 630 lives could be saved nationwide and 182,000 injuries could be prevented annually if all children were properly restrained.

Families attending the Child Safety Seat Check-Up can have their car seats examined by trained inspectors for proper installation, age/size appropriateness, and to see if they have been recalled or damaged in a crash.

Free refreshments will be available, and kids can see "Vince and Larry," the famous crash-test dummies. In addition, free replacement car seats will be available for the first 30 eligible families.

The Child Safety Seat Check-Up is part of "SAFE KIDS Buckle Up" a national program developed through a partnership with the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and General Motors to educate parents and caregivers about the importance of properly restraining children on every ride. For more information, call SAFE KIDS at 271-5695.

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