The state is starting a new ad campaign designed to get more parents to put their kids in car seats and seatbelts. State safety officials hope the “Join the Click” campaign will increase awareness of Iowa’s new tougher child restraint laws. The radio and TV campaign features Iowa kids singing the virtues of using seatbelts. Doctor Gretchen Virgil of the Children’s Hospital of Iowa in Iowa City says car crashes are the number one cause of death for children between the ages of three and 11.
Virgil says using an infant seat decreases death by about one-third, using a toddler carseat by 50 to 60 percent and a seatbelt by 50-percent. She says, “But, the sad thing is that a large portion of the kids that are killed, are unrestrained. To me that’s very unacceptable.”
Virgil says parents are interested in doing something. She says parents come to her every day with worries about their kid’s safety. Virgil says they worry about the avian flu, cancer, infections, but she says they should be worried about car crashes and keeping kids safe when they travel.
A University of Iowa survey finds 82-percent of kids up to age 11 are properly buckled in. Virgil says she works with the 18-percent who aren’t buckled in and find themselves in the hospital. She says just two weeks ago she took care of a teenage who was not buckled in and was ejected from a car in an accident and suffered severe injuries, including brain injuries. Virgil says she has to talk with parents about adjusting their priorities for a child that has been injured in an accident.
Virgil says the impact of not buckling up your child will be with you long after the accident. She says she can’t imagine the guilt and remorse the family must feel in knowing that their child’s injury was preventable with a seatbelt. You can find out more about buckling up your kid at www.jointheclick.org.