Demonstrating the Importance of Child Safety on Capitol Hill
If you want to make safety for children in the United States a national priority--and here at DOT, we do--one way of doing so is by holding an event that brings lawmakers from both sides of the aisle together. So, kudos to Safe Kids Worldwide for doing just that on Wednesday at Safe Kids Capitol Day.
This was not your typical safety fair, and I was happy to participate. Imagine turning the Rayburn Building Gold Room into several “zones” with interactive displays and demonstrations for elected officials illustrating the importance of child safety in cars, during sports, and at home.
The event was designed to raise the profile of child safety among U.S. lawmakers; Safe Kids has noted that unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for children in the United States.
For example, in one of the exhibits, Safe Kids gave participants the opportunity to play a video game simulator demonstrating the dangers of distracted driving. Texting while driving is a major concern for us at DOT and for parents and safety advocates across the nation. The simulator showed with realistic effects what can go wrong if we don’t pay attention behind the wheel.
There were also demonstrations on child passenger safety, including areas that DOT has been working hard in, like heat stroke, child safety seats, and appropriate-sized crash-test dummies that we use to improve automobile safety.
This is the second year that Safe Kids has held this event on Capitol Hill and the first time it was organized in conjunction with the new, bipartisan Congressional Kids Safety Caucus. Judging by the imaginative planning and turnout, it’s safe to say that the SafeKids and the Caucus are working effectively to ensure that the safety of America's children is an important priority on Capitol Hill.
Victor Mendez is Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration.