Monday, September 23, 2019

CDOT and CSP Partner to Promote Child Passenger Safety Week

Trooper Tim Sutherland, Colorado State Patrol
(303) 273-1918 (desk) | (303) 917-8679 | 

Sam Cole, CDOT Communications Manager
(303) 757-9484 (desk) | 303-859-1304 (cell) |
Sept. 21, 2019
State Patrol vehicle turned PSA for National Child Passenger Safety Week

DENVER — Before putting their hands in the stingray pool at the Downtown Aquarium, Denver families were encouraged to put their painted handprints on a Colorado State Patrol vehicle in the name of car seat safety.

The event was hosted by Car Seats Colorado at the Downtown Aquarium in honor of National Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 15 to 21. Car Seats Colorado, a joint effort between the Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado State Patrol, provided free car seat checks, staffed an “Ask the Experts” booth, and engaged families with the “handprint” vehicle in the Aquarium’s main plaza on Water Street.

The event invited Coloradans to learn the importance of practicing appropriate child passenger safety and to pledge to always install and use car seats and booster seats correctly.

Nationally, every 32 seconds in 2017, one child under the age of 13 in a passenger vehicle was involved in a crash. Many times, injuries and deaths can be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters and seat belts.

“Before and after you get behind the wheel, it is critical to make sure that passengers of all ages are safe,” said Shoshana Lew, CDOT Executive Director. “When driving with kids, make sure you are choosing the right car seats, installing them correctly, and then buckling correctly. When you leave the car, always double check the back seat and never leave a child alone in a car.”

On average, 38 children under the age of 15 die each year in the U.S. from being in a hot car. The auto industry has recently committed to installing a rear seat reminder feature in all cars and trucks by 2025. Such devices will go a long way in preventing tragic incidents of child heatstroke.

By event’s end, approximately 225 kids and parents left their hand prints on the State Patrol vehicle and nearly 40 families received car seat safety checks.

Chad Ashley, general manager of Downtown Aquarium Denver, said, “As a family-friendly destination in Denver, we are proud to partner with a key organization such as Car Seats Colorado to heighten awareness of a very important cause during National Child Passenger Safety Week.”

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, in 2015, about 25.8% of children between the ages of 4 to 7 were prematurely moved to seat belts, when they should have been riding in booster seats.

"Improperly restraining a child under 12 is not only dangerous, it's illegal in Colorado,” said Col. Matthew Packard, CSP Chief. “No parent wants their child to be in danger, so we encourage them to learn about car seats, booster seats and seat belts — and get your car and car seats checked regularly."

On the plaza in front of the Aquarium, licensed car seat safety technicians gave demonstrations on proper car seat installation and use. They also answered questions from parents. Here are some safety facts:
1.    Age is not the only factor in choosing the right car seat. Weight, height and vehicle type all play a role.
2.    It’s not always safe to re-use a used car seat — car seats expire or may have previously been in a crash.
3.    Even the most inexpensive car seats still have to pass the same rigorous safety testing standards — meaning they don’t have to be expensive.

CDOT and State Patrol hope more and better education will help at-risk communities and increase use statewide. Colorado is ranked as one of the lowest for using child passenger safety restraints — especially in rural and diverse communities.

Reducing the rate and severity of crashes for young people is part of CDOT’s Whole System — Whole Safety strategy, which aims to reduce fatalities and injuries and “Bring everyone home safely.”

Car Seats Colorado provides education and resources to help parents ensure their children are riding safely, as well as recycling programs for used car seats and training courses for safety technicians. Car Seats Colorado is comprised of the CSP, CDOT, local car seat technicians, law enforcement, emergency services and other professionals who are dedicated to implementing child passenger safety programs. Learn more at

To heighten safety awareness, CDOT recently announced its Whole System — Whole Safety initiative. This project takes a systematic statewide approach to safety combining the benefits of CDOT’s programs that address driving behaviors, our built environment and the organization's operations. The goal is to improve the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving the safety of all transportation modes. The program has one simple mission—to get everyone home safely.

CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees located at its Denver headquarters and in regional offices throughout Colorado, and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated interregional express service. Governor Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.