What if there were a way to prevent a leading cause of childhood death, but three out of four of us were doing it wrong?  The startling truth is that a car seat can dramatically reduce childhood death and injury from motor vehicle crashes, but 75 percent are installed incorrectly. According to the 2012 Arizona Child Fatality Review Report, lack of or improper use of vehicle restraints was a preventable factor in 35 percent of child deaths by motor vehicle crashes.

The good news is that Phoenix Children’s Hospital has been making a difference in improving child passenger safety among Phoenix families through Buckle Up for Life, a national education program from Toyota and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for families to help keep child passengers safe.

Community organizations that offered Buckle Up for Life in Phoenix observed the percentage of children unrestrained in cars decreased by more than half, from 16 percent to just six percent.  Additionally, the percentage of children restrained in seat belts increased from a quarter (25 percent) to a third (33 percent).

“We joined forces with Buckle Up for Life and Toyota earlier this year because we believed that convening families, trusted community organizations and our safety experts would have a powerful effect on improving children’s safety,” said Erin Kuroiwa Manager of Injury Prevention and Community Outreach at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.  “We are humbled by our impact, but know we have even farther to go.”

To further raise awareness of the importance of child passenger safety, Buckle Up for Life released a television Public Service Advertisement (PSA) today that takes a humorous and empathetic look at how frustrating installing a car seat can be.  You can view it here.

“While our new PSA takes a decidedly humorous look at installing a car seat, I think many parents would say we aren’t too far off from reality,” said Latondra Newton, chief corporate social responsibility officer, Toyota North America.  “I don’t know anyone who has not struggled with a car seat or watched a friend or family member do the same. But the truth is that a properly installed car seat can mean the difference between life and death in a crash.  That’s why Toyota is so committed to our work with Phoenix Children’s Hospital on Buckle Up for Life.”

Buckle Up for Life was created in 2004 by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Toyota to save children’s lives.  Over the last ten years, the program has grown to include a network of more than a dozen of the nation’s leading children’s hospital, and educated more than 17,000 people about the proper use of car seats and seat belts. Toyota’s sponsorship has provided funding for over 40,000 car seats for families in need.

The program also offers digital resources that provide parents with easy and accessible safety tips.  BuckleUpforLife.org features tools, videos and other content in English and Spanish and is optimized for mobile so you can access information on the go on your smart phone or tablet.

This year, Buckle Up for Life will expand to three new cities through partnerships with Boston Children’s Hospital (Boston, Massachusetts), Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (Stanford, California) and Maynard Children’s Hospital at Vidant Medical Center (Greenville, North Carolina.)