SAN ANTONIO -- Do you remember the "Click It or Ticket" campaign that encourages drivers to buckle up? Now, Toyota wants to help local minority families keep their most precious cargo - their children - safe on the roadways.
A new study by researchers at the University of Michigan found African American and Hispanic children are unrestrained at rates ten times that of Caucasian children. The rate among older children is even higher. Susan Douglass, the Director of Child Health and Safety Awareness at University Hospital, said the reasons for this trend can vary.
"Car seats do place a burden on the family," Douglass said. "If they have to choose between feeding their family or getting school supplies, very often that's the choice they make. Sometimes it's education. They may not understand how important car seats are or how they protect their children. And they may have grown up in a culture where they never used seatbelts or they never used car seats."
To challenge the risky trend, Toyota has teamed up with University Hospital to start a buckle up program. The program focuses on educating all members of the family on safety.
"We've gone to three African American and three Hispanic churches," Douglass said. "We really have significant improvements in the fact that they are buckled up now appropriately, whether it's in a seatbealt or a car seat."
The program is currently looking for three new churches to work with by the start of next year. For more information on car safety, visit Toyota's Safety site at http://www.toyota.com/safety/how-stuff-works/how-seatbelts-work.html