Celebrity Car Seat Challenge at American Family Children's Hospital

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Contestants at the Car Seat Challenge at American Family Children's HospitalMADISON - Madison broadcasters Julie Lund (WKOW), Brian Olson (WKOW), Robb Vogel (WMTV) and Marc Lovicott (WISC) came to American Family Children's Hospital Wednesday to compete in the second annual Celebrity Car Seat Challenge.


"Our goal for today is to remind parents and caregivers of the importance of correctly using safety seats and to have some fun," said Nan Peterson, director of American Family Children's Hospital's Safe Kids Coalition. "The sobering fact remains that motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death for children. The good news is most of these deaths are preventable. Placing a child in age- and size-appropriate car and booster seats reduces serious and fatal injuries by more than half."


The contestants were given 20 minutes to install and properly secure baby dolls into safety seats in the back seats of minivans provided by Zimbrick, Inc. They were given no instructions beyond the manuals provided by the safety seat manufacturers. Representatives of the UW Police Department, Dane County Sheriff's Office and AAA were on hand to guide the installation efforts but were only allowed to answer yes or no to the celebrities' questions.


Though Marc Lovicott walked away the winner, earning all six possible points as awarded by judges Lori Wirth of the Madison Fire Department and Sherry Faust of the Dean Foundation, all four celebrities found out firsthand that car seat installation isn't as simple as they might have thought.


"I've decided I'm just going to stay home," Julie Lund joked after the 20 minutes were up.


Difficulties with installation is the reason the Kohl's Safety Center at the Children's Hospital features a AAA Child Passenger Safety Inspection Station, where parents and caregivers can learn how to avoid common safety seat missteps. 


"The top two errors are usually that the seats are not into the vehicle tight enough, so that it's moving side-to-side and back-and-forth a lot," Peterson said. "The second is the infant is not in the seat tight enough, so the harness straps are way too loose."


After the challenge, Kohl's district manager Glen Kristensen presented a check for $103,396 to the Kohl's Safety Center. An enduring advocate for children's safety, Kohl's annually offers plush toys and books on sale at their department stores for $5 as part of the Kohl's Cares for Kids program, with all of the proceeds going to American Family Children's Hospital.


Kohl's latest donation brings their total contribution over the past decade to $957,259.72. 

Date Published: 11/16/2009

News tag(s):  safe kidschildren

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