WASHINGTON — Aiming to prevent some of the thousands of child fatalities and injuries caused each year by car accidents, DaimlerChrysler moved Thursday to become the first auto maker to provide free fittings and inspections of child safety seats at its dealerships.
Government studies have shown that 4 out of 5 children in safety seats are incorrectly restrained. Incorrect restraint weakens significantly the protection the devices can offer in automobile crashes. Auto crashes are still the leading cause of death among children in the U.S.
"Parents need help to make sure their children are properly secured in those seats," Robert Eaton, DaimlerChrysler co-chairman, said at a news conference.
DaimlerChrysler said its "Fit for a Kid" program will start in San Francisco, Denver, Minneapolis and Washington in September, and will be available nationwide starting in February.
Initially, the free service will be provided for owners of DaimlerChrysler vehicles at about 1,000, or about 20%, of the company's dealerships.