If you are a parent or a grandparent, the initial frustration of locking a small child into the web of buckles and straps of a car seat is followed by a sigh of relief: now she will be safe. And that same peace of mind takes over when you remind a fidgety older child to buckle up: now he will be safe too.
Not so, says Public Citizen (www.citizen.org) president and former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chair Joan Claybrook, who testified recently before Congress on behalf of the proposed Cameron Gulbransen Kids and Cars Safety Act of 2007.
Statistics for 2005 indicate that nearly 2000 children age 3 – 14 were killed in motor vehicle accidents, and another 234,000 were injured. Among the causes were rollovers and collapsing back seats – unconscionable vehicle safety lapses from automobile manufacturers who are risking these precious lives to cut costs and increase profits.
Yes, as Ms. Claybrook recommends, we need to make child safety information more available to policy makers and the public. But most important, we need to hold automakers responsible for measures that will prevent this carnage. Isn’t it a shame that we must pass legislation to force them to do it?