In a novel move, General Motors Corp. will make its dealerships the focus of a $10.5-million effort to promote the proper use of child safety seats.
“We want to influence those adults who don’t already use child safety restraints all the time and help those who do use them but may not know if the systems are properly installed,” Harry J. Pearce, GM’s vice chairman, said Thursday. The promotion is being launched in cooperation with the National Safe Kids Campaign.
A panel assembled by the Department of Transportation last year estimated safety seats are often improperly installed and used only about 50% of the time.
GM said that more than 8,500 dealerships will be offering pamphlets and demonstrations on how to install child safety seats.
The partnership program will include first-ever technical training for GM dealership personnel in the correct use of child safety seats and seat belts.
Joseph M. Colella, who served on the Department of Transportation panel, said he believes consumers are more likely to ask about child safety seat installation at dealerships--but personnel there often do not know how to respond.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that 3% of the 70,000 auto-related injuries to children ages 1 to 4 in 1993 were the result of improperly installed child seats or the failure to use them at all.