Recent crashes in the past couple of years involving cars-for-hire highlight the need to use seat belts and child safety seats on every trip, every time…in every seating position.

One crash involved 60 Minutes news correspondent, Bob Simon, when his for-hire Lincoln Town Car crashed in downtown Manhattan. News reports suggest that he was not wearing his seat belt and he tragically died from injuries to his head, neck and stomach.  The other crash involved a family traveling in a taxi in Hackettstown, NJ. A 14- month-old girl and her parents were hospitalized with serious injuries.  The media reported the girl was not restrained and was ejected from the vehicle. Appropriate restraint for her age is a rear-facing child safety seat installed in the rear seat of the vehicle.

Is there anyone left in the United States that doesn't know they should use seat belts and child safety seats when riding in motor vehicles? Or that seat belts and car seats prevent deaths and injuries in crashes? Or that restraint use in vehicles is mandated by law? For these crashes, maybe it was a change in routine or some distraction as they started their trip that caused them to not be properly restrained.

All vehicles can crash, including taxis and limousines, on short and long trips, on all types of roads – slow and fast. One of the most effective public health vaccines ever created, the seat belt, prevents crash fatalities. But you have to use them all the time. Not just sometimes. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's extensive research tells us that seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45 percent and risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent. Child safety seats reduce fatalities for infants by 74 percent and by 50 percent for toddlers.

Before the vehicle you are riding gets in gear, make sure you and all other occupants are buckled up. Create any kind of reminder that works to make this action routine—no matter the distractions. Drill it into your children early and often so that they continue to buckle-up even when you are not there.

You can avoid the regret, pain, and suffering that these families are experiencing by making buckling up the routine on every trip.

To make sure your family is properly restrained, visit the Car Seat Safety For Kids website from CHOP.

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