The MEXICO Report
By Susie Albin-Najera
On Saturday, April 30, 2011, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), co-hosted a “Celebration of Safety” in conjunction with the ‘Buckle Up for Life’ program, at an event held at Our Lady of Guadalupe church in East Los Angeles, California.
Approximately 50 families were part of the celebration marking the completion of an eight-week child passenger safety training course taught in Spanish. Participants learned how to properly install child safety seats and were taught about vehicle safety, injury prevention, car seat inspections and more.
Families who did not previously own a child car safety seat or whose car seats were expired or recalled were given a new one, compliments of the program.
Buckle Up For Life, or “Abróchate a la Vida,” was created by medical trauma specialists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and funded through a grant from Toyota. The program is designed to educate Hispanic families on the importance of keeping their families safe while driving.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hispanic children are four times less likely to use seat belts or child restraints and three times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than Caucasian children.
“We were seeing a disproportionate number of Hispanic children coming into the hospital with severe crash-related injuries and we knew we had to do something about it,” said Dr. Rebeccah L. Brown, Associate Director, Trauma Services at Cincinnati Children’s.
Senator Ed Hernandez, who represents California Senate District 24, presented certificates to representatives of Toyota, CHLA, CCHMC, and Our Lady of Guadalupe church.
“Events like this are extremely important to keep children safe and to get the word out,” said Senator Hernandez.
Community support for this program has been tremendous, even gaining endorsements from local elected officials such as Council Members Jose Huizar and Richard Alarcón. Alarcón feels especially connected to this issue, having lost a child in a motor vehicle accident.
“As a father who has lost a child in a car crash, I know how devastating auto accidents can be for our families and our communities, and it’s startling to know that vehicle crash injuries are one of the leading causes of death in Latino children in the United States,” said Council Member Alarcón.
“What we saw when we began Buckle Up for Life in Greater Cincinnati was that, after participating in the program, the number of adults and children using seat belts and car seats had more than doubled,” said Pat Pineda, Toyota’s group vice president of national philanthropy. “When we saw those results, we knew we had found a successful and sustainable model that was meeting the pressing needs of the community.”
“Injury and death due to vehicle-related injuries is preventable,” said Dr. Jeffery S. Upperman, Director of Trauma at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “If we can save just one child’s life, all of our efforts have been worth it.”
For more information, visit:
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Car seat info: http://www.carseat.org/