CHICAGO - DaimlerChrysler is expanding its free child safety seat inspection service to all families, no matter what brand of vehicle they drive.
The company's Fit for a Kid inspection service is conducted by specially trained dealership personnel.
'Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for children in America,' said Jim Hall, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, who spoke at a press conference during the Chicago Auto Show.
'In the last decade, five children under the age of 10 died needlessly every day in motor vehicle crashes.' Hall cited studies indicating that 80 percent of all child safety seats are installed incorrectly, resulting in unnecessary injuries and deaths.
In January 1999, the National Transportation Safety Board asked the auto industry to create a national system of permanent child safety seat fitting stations.
Under the Fit for a Kid program, DaimlerChrysler dealer personnel inspect each car seat to determine if the seat is properly secured with a seat belt; if the car seat is the proper size for the child; and if the child is properly secure in the car seat.
DaimlerChrysler launched the Fit for a Kid pilot program last year in four test markets for the owners of DaimlerChrysler vehicles.
Sue Cischke, DaimlerChrysler senior vice president for regulatory affairs and passenger car operations, said the service is now offered to all vehicle owners at more than 400 Five Star DaimlerChrysler dealerships in 80 markets, and it will be expanded to 1,000 Five Star dealerships by the end of the year.