After accident: “I was so thankful for that car seat”

Buckle Up For Life grant to help Mott program expand car seat safety education program and free car seat giveaway

carseat2Ariana Jacobs and her newborn daughter were riding in a car with a friend one winter when the car suddenly hit a patch of black ice at a stoplight, careening past oncoming traffic and straight into a tree.

Panicked, the new mom anxiously turned to look in the back seat.


There, she found then 3-month-old D’Ariana still sleeping peacefully.

“She looked so snug. She hadn’t even moved,” the Ann Arbor area mom remembers. “I was so thankful for that car seat.”

The Jacobs are among thousands of families who have received free car seats and car seat education through C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital’s Injury Prevention Program at the University of Michigan. Jacobs attended a class to learn about car seat safety and installation before receiving the seat for D’Ariana, now 5, and another seat later on for 3-year-old son Quzion.

“Car seats aren’t cheap. This program was such a relief for us,” says Jacobs. “The class was helpful too. You have no idea how these things work and how easy it is to do it wrong. It was very reassuring knowing that my babies were safe in their seats any time we got on the road.”

Now, thanks to a new grant and partnership, Mott will be able to help more parents like Jacobs keep their young riders safe.

The Pediatric Trauma program at Mott is receiving a three-year, $210,000 grant from Buckle Up for Life, a national injury prevention program from Toyota and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The national program is operated through a network of leading children’s hospitals across the country.

The Buckle Up for Life grant will help boost the number of free car seats Mott distributes and support more car seat safety education in communities whose families are at highest risk of misusing seats.

“Car seats save lives. We see proof of this in our emergency rooms every day,” says Mott Injury Prevention Program Lead Marie Snodgrass. “Parents are often surprised and overwhelmed by not only how expensive car seats can be, but also the challenges of using them correctly. Mott is offering Buckle Up For Life to help parents properly use car seats and booster seats to protect their children, and to educate parents on when to appropriately transition children to the next stage.”

“We are incredibly grateful for the generous support from Buckle Up For Life that will allow us to expand our program so we can reach more families and keep even more child passengers as safe as possible on the roads.”

In Michigan, more than half of the children under the age of four who were killed in traffic crashes from 2008-2012 were either not in a car seat or improperly restrained. Motor vehicle crashes are also the second leading cause of trauma admissions for children seen at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Over the last three years, more than 140 children experienced injuries from motor-vehicle related crashes that were severe enough to require hospitalization at Mott.

Across the U.S., three out of four car seats, or 75 percent, are installed incorrectly, research shows. Due to various factors, Hispanic and African American children are also 10 times less likely to be properly restrained in a vehicle.

Mott will aim to distribute more than 700 new seats to children each year, over the next three years. Buckle Up for Life will also focus on boosting outreach in African-American and Hispanic communities.

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mott blog - logo thumbUniversity of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in all ten pediatric specialties in U.S. News Media Group’s “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” and among the 10 best children’s hospitals in the nation by Parents Magazine. In December 2011, the hospital opened our new 12-story, state-of-the-art facility offering cutting-edge specialty services for newborns, children and women.