New program hopes to curb child safety issues

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Safety officials say some parents are ignoring a very simple message: buckle up your children and keep them safe.

Palmetto Health Children's Hospital along with the state Department of Public Safety have launched "Buckle Buddies." It's a program designed to raise awareness about child passenger safety.

By calling 1-888-RU-SC-BUDDY, anyone can anonymously report an unrestrained or improperly restrained child. Here's how it works: the caller leaves the license plate, vehicle description, city, and county where observed.

The registered owner of the vehicle will then receive an informational packet in the mail. It will explain the program, along with information on passenger safety and the state's child restraint law.

Officials say there's no excuse for not protecting your children.

"Many times we arrive on the scene, we hear all kinds of excuses," said South Carolina Highway Patrol Col. FK Lancaster. "One is, 'I didn't have time to put him or her in a seat. Another is, 'I just took her out to feed her.' Another is, 'We're just going around the corner.' There are no excuses for not buckling up your children and trying to save their lives."

According to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for children over the age of one.

Kohl's Department Stores are a major sponsor of the program. In addition to the phone number, there is a website set up to report problems you see.

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