DaimlerChrysler is expanding a project in which trained dealership employees offer free child safety seat inspections nationwide.
DC is expanding the $10 million effort by:
* Providing the service to everyone - regardless of what model vehicle they drive.
* Launching a major ad campaign.
* Getting more dealerships involved.
Currently, the inspections are done at about 400 DC dealerships in the U.S.
By year's end, the "Fit for a Kid" service will be offered at 1,000 dealerships, says Sue Cischke, DC senior vice president for regulatory affairs and passenger car operations.
"Research unfortunately shows that most people think the safety seats are installed correctly or the children are secured properly, when in fact that's true only 20% of the time," says Ms. Cischke.
Because of that, about 10 million children are at risk, says James Hall, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Dealership inspectors undergo 32 hours of NTSB training over four days. They become familiar with the proper installation of all 120 brands of child safety seats
About two employees at each participating dealership undergo the training.
"Dealers are very enthusiastic about the program," says Ms. Cischke.