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Child Safety Seat Inspection Protects Prospect Park Mayor's Son from Injury; DaimlerChrysler Child Safety Seat Technician Performs Lifesaving Inspection that Protected Child's Life.

PROSPECT PARK, N.J., March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Prospect Park Mayor William Kubofcik and his wife Nuha are breathing a heavy sigh of relief after a traffic crash that could have been deadly for their 14-month old son Josef. Ten days before the crash, Mrs. Kubofcik had visited Glenn Boonstra, a DaimlerChrysler Fit for a Kid inspector for a child seat inspection. The parents and fire personnel that responded to the crash credit the inspection for keeping Josef out of harm's way.

The story began on March 11 when Mrs. Kubofcik went to Boonstra for a car seat inspection. Glenn works for Borough Chrysler Jeep, in Wayne, NJ, a DaimlerChrysler dealer that offers a free, child safety seat inspection service called Fit for a Kid. Mrs. Kubofcik, who originally went to Boonstra just after the birth of her son Josef for an inspection, went back to Boonstra when she was concerned that her son had grown too big to be sitting in the rear-facing position of his car seat. Indeed, Boonstra found that Josef was too big to be sitting in this position. So, he showed Mrs. Kubofcik how to properly secure Josef in a forward-facing child safety seat.

Then on March 21, while Mrs. Kubofcik was on her way to her father's 60th birthday celebration, she was momentarily distracted from the road. In an instant, the car had crashed head-on into a utility pole with the frame of the Ford Explorer wedged between the pole and a concrete river barrier. The impact of the crash totaled the vehicle. Mrs. Kubofcik, who was not wearing a seat belt at the time, suffered a gash on her chin, requiring 18-stitches. Little Josef, who was thoroughly examined by doctors at a nearby hospital, had no injuries other than a tiny nick on his chin.

"We were very luck that day," said Mayor Kubofcik. "But the fact is the seat inspection saved my son's life. I am grateful to Glenn and to the Fit for a Kid service for showing my family how to properly secure Josef into his safety seat."

"This was a severe crash. In fact, it nearly snapped the utility pole in two," said Prospect Park Fire Chief Jeff VanderMolen, the first responder to the crash. "I couldn't believe Josef was fine."

"The Kubofcik family had much more than luck on their side," said Boonstra. "Mrs. Kubofcik's determination to make sure her son would be riding safely in his safety seat from the very start and taking the time to have a follow-up safety seat inspection are what kept Josef safe and protected from serious injury or even death in the crash."

This event happens to coincide with the release of a series of public service announcements by Fit for a Kid partner the National Safety Council featuring Grammy(R) award-winning vocalist Celine Dion. The spots encourage parents to use child safety seats and to have them inspected for proper fit.

Through participating Five Star Chrysler, Jeep(R) and Dodge dealers, DaimlerChrysler Corporation offers Fit for a Kid at no charge to everyone, regardless of the make or model vehicle they drive. Certified Fit for a Kid inspectors will not only inspect the child safety seat or booster seat for proper installation and fit but also will educate parents on which restraints are right for their children, and how to use them correctly.

"Protecting children is the driving force behind DaimlerChrysler's Fit for a Kid service," said DaimlerChrysler's Deborah Morrissett, vice president - Regulatory Affairs. "We are thrilled to know that this valuable service helped avert a potentially heartbreaking tragedy."

Families can find a nearby Fit for a Kid dealer by calling toll free 1-877-FIT-4-A-KID or clicking on the Web site Inspections are by appointment only. For additional inspection resources, caregivers also can call toll free 1-866-SEATCHECK or log-onto

"This is an extraordinary reminder to all parents and caregivers, especially as more families take to the roads," said Chuck Hurley, vice president, Transportation Safety Group, the National Safety Council (NSC). "Parents should get a safety seat inspection. And remember, adults must always buckle up, too."
 The NSC recommends the following safety seat transitions for children:

 * Children 12 and under ride only in a rear seat, properly restrained.
 * Infants ride in rear-facing safety seats until they are at least 12
 months old and weigh at least 20 pounds.
 * Children, who are at least 1-year-old, weigh 20-40 pounds, and can no
 longer ride rear-facing must ride in forward-facing child safety seats.
 * Children more than 40 pounds must be correctly secured in belt
 positioning boosters or other appropriate child restraints until the
 vehicle seat cushion length and adult lap and shoulder belts fit
 correctly (when they are about 4' 9" tall).
 * Once the vehicle seat cushion length and safety belts fit children, both
 lap and shoulder belts must be correctly used.

Any safety seat must be installed and used according to the manufacturer's instructions and a vehicle owner's manual. For more information, visit or

Traffic crashes are the number one killer of kids. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 73 percent of all child restraint systems are used improperly and 84 percent of infant restraint systems are misused. Yet, according to a recent survey commissioned by DaimlerChrysler, 97 percent of parents incorrectly believe that they always properly use and install their child safety seats.(1)

Since Fit for a Kid was launched in 1999, there have been more than 20 known cases in which children across the country have been protected from harm because their parents took the time to have a child safety seat inspection at a participating Fit for a Kid Chrysler/Jeep(R)/Dodge dealer.

DaimlerChrysler Corporation delivers the Fit for a Kid service with the support of the NSC. Graco Children's Products Inc., makers of Century and Graco child safety seats, is a promotional partner in the service.
 (1) The national telephone survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies
 of Alexandria, Va., was of 500 adult drivers who transport children 8
 years of age or younger at least twice a week. The survey was
 conducted January 26-28, 2002. The sample was drawn proportional to
 the number of adults in each state, with a margin of error of +/-
 4.38% at the 95% confidence interval.

CONTACT: Nicole Miller, +1-202-572-2926, or Will Taliaferro, +1-202-572-2920, both for the DaimlerChrysler Corporation

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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 25, 2004
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