Ft. Lauderdale, FL–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–June 15, 2006–Looking for a gift for Dad this Father’s Day? Learning how to safely secure children while traveling is a priceless gift parents can receive for free this Saturday. The State of Florida, the Florida Highway Patrol and 21st Century Insurance (NYSE: TW) will hold their second child safety seat fair as part of their recently launched statewide consumer safety program. The program targets the leading cause of fatalities among children – motor vehicle crashes – by promoting compliance with Florida law for child safety seats.
Saturday’s event will be held at the Coral Square Mall (near Dillard’s) from 10 a.m. to noon this Saturday, June 17, with 21st safety spokesman Erik Estrada on hand to help deliver lifesaving tips and sign autographs.
Florida law requires that all children 5 years of age or younger must ride properly restrained in a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device. For children aged through three years, such restraint device must be a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat. For children aged four through five years, a separate carrier, an integrated child seat or a seat belt may be used.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children two years of age. New data show that 80 percent of child safety seats are improperly installed and are a potential source of injury for children, up from 73 percent in 2004.
Saturday’s child safety seat fair, from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m., will take place in the parking lot of the Coral Square Mall at 9469 W. Atlantic Blvd. in Coral Springs. Certified child passenger safety technicians will inspect and teach parents to install their child safety seats. If necessary, technicians will replace broken, recalled or non-age-appropriate seats with brand-new child safety seats donated by 21st. Technicians will teach parents and caregivers how to use and install the seats. Children must accompany vehicles for proper fitting and will be helped on a first come, first served basis.
“Recent national statistics show that more than 80 percent of children in vehicles are unrestrained or buckled up incorrectly,” said Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Conya Bassett. “A properly installed child safety seat can make the difference between a safe, healthy child and one who’s injured or killed.”
Actor Erik Estrada, best known as “Ponch” on the hit TV show “CHiPs,” will join fair participants to spread the word on child seat safety. “Wearing your seatbelt and making sure your children are properly buckled up is the best insurance against being killed or seriously injured in many vehicle crashes,” Estrada said. “I urge all parents to have their child’s safety seat inspected. Just a few minutes could save a life.”
Federal statistics show a critical need for education regarding booster seat use:
— According to recent data from NHTSA, at least 80 percent of children who should ride in booster seats currently do not.
— NHTSA recommends that children who weigh more than 40 pounds or who have outgrown their 5-point harness system should be placed in a booster seat.
— Using a booster seat allows the seat belt to be positioned across the child where it is most effective and lowers the risk of injury to children in crashes by 59 percent.
The Florida program is modeled after the company’s successful efforts in seven other states. Since 21st premiered its safety initiative in California five years ago, more than 7,900 child safety seats have been inspected; 21st has donated more than 6,300 new child safety seats; and more than 2,900 dangerous seats have been destroyed. This Saturday’s safety fair is the second Florida event for 2006 and will be followed by a similar event in Miami. For location information, log onto 21st.com.
To help inform the public, 21st has created “Child Safety Seats: A Parent’s Guide” to explain proper seat installation and use. The guide, available in English or Spanish, can be obtained at the safety fairs as well as directly from 21st by contacting the company’s corporate headquarters at 1-800-211-SAVE or visiting its Web site, 21st.com/safety.
Founded in 1958, 21st Century Insurance Group is a direct-to-consumer provider of personal auto insurance. With $1.4 billion of revenue in 2005, the company insures over 1.5 million vehicles in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. 21st provides superior policy features and 24/7 customer service at a competitive price. Customers can purchase insurance, service their policy or report a claim at 21st.com or on the phone with our licensed insurance professionals at 1-800-211-SAVE, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Service is offered in English and Spanish both on the phone and on the Web. 21st Century Insurance Company, 21st Century Casualty Company and 21st Century Insurance Company of the Southwest are rated A+ by Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s.
21st Century Insurance Group is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the trading symbol TW and is headquartered at 21st Century Plaza, 6301 Owensmouth Avenue, Woodland Hills, CA 91367.