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FOR RELEASE: February 10, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

SAFE KIDS SURVEY REVEALS KIDS IN CHILD CARE MAY NOT BE TRANSPORTED SAFELY

In a recent National SAFE KIDS Campaign survey, nearly half of parents reported that kids transported in child care are inappropriately restrained for their age and size. In addition, the survey revealed that nearly half of children are transported once a week or more, and one-third are transported daily by their provider. That’s why the Oklahoma SAFE KIDS Coalition, a program of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, is part of a nationwide child passenger safety initiative geared toward child care providers in recognition of Child Passenger Safety Week.

The SAFE KIDS report, Transportation in Child Care Settings: Parent Knowledge and State Regulations, analyzed parents’ knowledge and experiences regarding children in child care, specifically as they relate to transportation practices. SAFE KIDS surveyed hundreds of parents of children ages 14 and under who were currently receiving child care and transported by their providers. The report also analyzed state child care transportation regulations.

Key findings:

  • 49 percent of parents reported that their children were transported by caregivers once a week or more.
  • 60 percent of children were reported to be cared for in home settings versus 38 percent in program/center settings.
  • 60 percent of children cared for in the home were reported to be cared for by their grandparents.
  • 46 percent of children from birth to age 8 who should have been in child safety seats were reported to be transported in lap belts and shoulder belts.

“This survey shows that parents should be more involved with how their child is transported while in someone else’s care,” said Martha Collar, coalition coordinator. “If children cannot be transported safely in their child care environment, then they should not be transported at all.”

“Currently in Oklahoma, Department of Human Services’ child care transportation regulations allow caregivers to transport children in seat belts when they turn 4, but obviously this is neither safe nor recommended,” said Collar. “If parents expect a higher standard, then they need to ask for it.”

In recognition of Child Passenger Safety Week (February 9-15), Oklahoma SAFE KIDS recently hosted a training in child passenger safety (CPS) for child care providers, and similar trainings will be held in the coming months. In addition, certified CPS technicians will be checking child safety seats free of charge for age- and size-appropriateness, proper installation and use, and whether seats have been recalled or visibly damaged.

Upcoming child safety seat checks in the Oklahoma City metro area include:

  • Feb. 14, Oklahoma City Community College Child Development Center, 7777 S. May Ave., Oklahoma City, 4-6p.m.
  • Feb. 19, The Children’s Place Child Development Center, 5600 N. Independence, Oklahoma City, 3:30-6 p.m.
  • Feb. 20, Bob Moore Auto Dealership, Norman, 2505 W. Main, Norman, 4-7 p.m.
  • Feb. 26, Cleveland County Fairgrounds, Norman, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

SAFE KIDS BUCKLE UP, with support from the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources (CHR) and General Motors, has already committed nearly a half million dollars to this comprehensive CPS Week initiative. SAFE KIDS will continue this effort with nationwide community-based educational workshops for child care providers, free child safety seat checkups and free educational materials. In addition, the Oklahoma SAFE KIDS Coalition will continue to provide child safety seat resources to lower income families to help ensure their safe transportation.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 14 and under.

The entire SAFE KIDS report, Transportation in Child Care Settings: Parent Knowledge and State Regulations, can be found at www.safekids.org . For more information on SAFE KIDS BUCKLE UP, visit the Web site or call the toll-free hotline at (800) 441-1888 to find a child safety seat checkup near you.

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