Bipartisan HB24-1055 addresses need for more motor vehicle injury prevention in light of total yearly traffic fatalities increasing 57% over last decade
AURORA, Colo., Feb. 12, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — This week, the Colorado House Transportation, Housing & Local Government Committee will consider a bill led by Children’s Hospital Colorado (Children’s Colorado) related to child passenger safety and education. House Bill 24-1055, sponsored by Representatives Meg Froelich and Rose Pugliese and Senators Faith Winter and Kevin Priola, updates the state’s child restraint system requirements for the first time in 14 years. Injury prevention experts at Children’s Colorado shared that in 2023, motor vehicle crashes were the second leading cause of serious traumatic injury for patients seen across its System of Care. From January-October 2023, there were more than 1,500 pediatric visits to Colorado hospital emergency departments for motor vehicle incidents, making attention to the safety of Colorado youth on the road more important than ever.
“We have the opportunity to modernize our child passenger safety requirements in Colorado to ensure every minute kids spend in vehicles is as safe as possible,” said Britney Lombard, Child Passenger Safety Instructor and Manager of Prevention Education Outreach at Children’s Colorado. “Motor vehicle collisions should not be a leading cause of death among children in Colorado, but unfortunately, they are. The Colorado Department of Transportation estimates that 59% to nearly 84% of kids are improperly restrained while riding in a vehicle. We’re urging lawmakers to help keep kids safe with the passage of HB24-1055.”
Children’s Colorado and advocacy coalition partners, including AAA Colorado, American Academy of Pediatrics-Colorado Chapter and the Colorado Hospital Association, are asking for the following updates to be made to Colorado’s child passenger safety laws to reflect stronger evidence-based practices, with the goal of keeping young children as safe and protected as possible when traveling in a vehicle:
- Update Rear-Facing Standards Until Age Two: 23 states and the District of Columbia require children younger than two be in a rear-facing car safety seat.
- Improve Booster Seat Protections: Research shows that proper restraint use decreases as children get older. Booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45% when compared with seat belt use alone.
In addition to updating child passenger restraint laws, this bill prioritizes education and access to life-saving resources. The bill proposes the creation of a child passenger safety education and distribution grant program with funding opportunities for certification of child passenger safety technicians, educational events and resources for families and caregivers, and car seat distribution programs for families across Colorado.
“As a Child Passenger Safety Technician and Instructor, the most important aspect of child passenger safety is educating parents and caregivers on how to protect – and potentially save – their child’s life,” said Amanda Abramczyk-Thill, Senior Prevention Education Outreach Coordinator at Children’s Colorado, Colorado Springs. “We’re thrilled this bill also includes a grant that will fund child passenger safety education and programs that increase access to child restraints. We understand some families may not practice safe child transportation due to the expense of child restraints systems, so increased access paired with education is paramount to child safety. Parents and caregivers can reduce the risk of serious injuries and deaths by up to 80% just by making sure their children are properly buckled in the correct car seat or booster seat.”
According to child passenger safety technicians, car and booster seats are commonly misused in the following ways:
- The harness is not properly adjusted or tightened for the size of the child
- The car seat does not fit the child’s age, weight or height
- The car seat install is too loose
- The car seat recline is incorrect
Please reach out to [email protected] for an interview with a Children’s Colorado Prevention Education Outreach expert who can speak about youth motor vehicle-related injuries, common misconceptions or misuses of child passenger restraint guidance, and how HB24-1055 will improve child safety across Colorado.
ABOUT CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL COLORADO
Children’s Hospital Colorado is one of the nation’s leading and most expansive nonprofit pediatric healthcare systems with a mission to improve the health of children through patient care, education, research and advocacy. Founded in 1908 and ranked among the best children’s hospitals in the nation as recognized by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s Colorado has established itself as a pioneer in the discovery of innovative and groundbreaking treatments that are shaping the future of pediatric healthcare worldwide. Children’s Colorado offers a full spectrum of family-centered care at its urgent, emergency and specialty care locations throughout Colorado, including an academic medical center on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, hospitals in Colorado Springs, Highlands Ranch and Broomfield, and outreach clinics across the region. For more information, visit www.childrenscolorado.org or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Children’s Hospital Colorado complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.
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Sarah Bonar, Children’s Hospital Colorado
SOURCE Children’s Hospital Colorado