Seat Belts Save Lives


September 14, 2000
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana


Seeley's KISS Program
can tell you why

 

by Patricia Swan Smith

Allen Jeans was in a car accident when he was 10 years old. He wasn't wearing a seat belt. He's now 46, and still suffers from the injuries sustained in that accident. He knows that car crashes are the leading cause of death to children, and it bothers him because a lot of the deaths are preventable.

A Seeley Lake survey showed that less than 50 percent of the mothers picking up their children at the elementary school were buckled up. And only 25 percent of the high school students arriving at the high school were buckled up.

And across the United States more than 80 percent of child safety seats in use are used incorrectly.

Today Jeans is heading up an awareness program in Seeley. Seven other local residents are helping get the program off the ground.

The program, Kids in Seat Belts And Safety Seats (KISS) will hold it's first annual event on October 1st. The Safety Seat Check-Up at the Fire Hall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. will help parents check to see if their car seats are installed correctly and give them an opportunity to purchase a limited supply of new seats for $15. The kids will have a chance to chat with the safety officers and grab a free toy.

The program is also getting involved with the elementary school and high school by giving safety presentations and poster and essay contests. The contests winners will be awarded cash prizes.

Another great activity is called "Kids Caught Program". Children and teenagers caught wearing their seat belts between October 1st and the 15th will get a voucher for a free soft drink at Roveros and be entered into the drawing box for cash prizes.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is a partner in the Buckle Up America campaign in an effort to increase awareness of the lives saved and injuries prevented by using seat belts and car seats properly.

The goal of the campaign is to increase the seat belt use rate to 90 percent and reduce child fatalities by 25 percent by the year 2005. According to the statistics, if this goal can be reached, 5,500 deaths and 132,000 injuries will be prevented along with a savings of $8.8 billion to society.

Seat belts are the most effective safety devices in vehicles, and it's estimated they save 9,500 lives a year. An air bag can be completely ineffective if the body is not in the proper position. Only 68 percent of the motor vehicle occupants are buckled up. And in a crash, bodies become human bullets without seat belts. In 1996, more than 60 percent of those killed in fatal crashes were unrestrained.

Please come out and join the KISS team in helping make all of us safer.

"Buckle up with a KISS," is our motto Jeans says.

Jeans moved to Seeley in 1998. He's a retired chiropractor, and feels very strongly about people living without pain.

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