March 31, 2012 at 10:30 AM EDT
San Antonio Celebrates Motor-Vehicle Safety and Paves the Road for National Expansion of ‘Buckle Up for Life’ Program

University Health System co-hosted a “Celebration of Safety” in conjunction with the Buckle Up for Life or “Abróchate a la Vida“ program, at an event held today at My Father’s House Church in San Antonio.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor-vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death among Hispanics. Furthermore, Hispanic children are three times more likely to die in a vehicle crash than Caucasian children. To address this health disparity, Buckle Up For Life, sponsored by Toyota, was created by trauma specialists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The program is designed to educate both Hispanic and African American families on the importance of keeping their families safe while driving. Buckle Up For Life is expanding to three new communities nationwide, including San Antonio, Chicago, IL, and Orange County, CA.

“Unfortunately, the need for Buckle Up for Life or Abróchate a la Vida is all too real,” said Pat Pineda, Toyota’s Group Vice President of National Philanthropy. “The fact remains that while many children are not properly secured in vehicles, we hope taking these few extra simple steps will help save lives.”

Buckle Up for Life meets families in their communities, delivering information in a faith-based setting. To date, Toyota, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and University Health System have joined together with three local churches to deliver motor-vehicle passenger safety and prevention education to participants.

“We are excited to be a partner of the Buckle Up for Life program,” said Dr. Bryan Alsip, Chief Medical Officer, University Health System. “Raising awareness about the importance of using seat belts and car seats is critical to injury prevention and saving lives. Buckle Up for Life is a wonderful initiative and we are proud to be part of this national campaign.”

The congregations of the participating churches have devoted weeks of Sunday school classes and sermons to learning about critical safety behaviors. These efforts culminated with today’s “Celebration of Safety” event where program participants took part in a free car seat check event, safety demonstrations and more. Festivities also included music, food, giveaways and arts and crafts for the children.

About University Health System

Owned by the taxpayers of Bexar County, University Health System is a nationally recognized academic medical center and network of outpatient health centers. In partnership with The University of Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine, University Health System is consistently recognized as a leader for going paperless with electronic medical records. It is the first public health system in Texas to be designated as Magnet Hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. University Hospital, its 498-bed acute care hospital, was named Best Regional Hospital U.S. News & World Report in 2011-2012 and is one of just 15 Level I trauma centers in Texas. University Health System’s Community First Health Plans is the region’s only locally-owned, nonprofit HMO and San Antonio AirLIFE, jointly owned by University Health System, is a national leader in emergency air medical transport.

University Health System is committed to changing lives, advancing medicine and improving access to the highest level of care to the people of Bexar County and beyond. Through the Capital Improvement Program, a new 10-story tower, state-of-the-art technology and additional parking will be available to patients at University Hospital in 2014. In addition, the expansion of the Robert B. Green Campus downtown will include a new six-story clinical services building to be completed in 2012. For more, please go online at www.UniversityHealthSystem.com.

About Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S. News and World Report's 2011 Best Children's Hospitals ranking. It is ranked #1 for gastroenterology and in the top 10 for all pediatric specialties - a distinction shared by only two other pediatric hospitals in the United States. Cincinnati Children's is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health. It is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at www.cincinnatichildrens.org.

About Toyota

Toyota established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants. Toyota directly employs nearly 30,000 people in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design.

Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed over half a billion dollars to philanthropic programs in the U.S. For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit http://www.toyota.com/community.

Contacts:

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Tamara Hatcher, 513-910-2936
Tamara.Hatcher@cchmc.org
or
Toyota
Luis Rosero, 202-607-9027
Luis_Rosero@tma.toyota.com
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