DOWNERS GROVE, IL -- In an effort to keep children safe, the Illinois Tollway and Illinois State Police District 15 are teaming up to host free Kids Identification and Safety Seat (K.I.S.S.) events this summer throughout Northern Illinois. Thirteen events have been scheduled for 2014 to provide free kids' identification cards and inspect and install child safety seats.
Properly installed safety seats eliminate a potential distraction for drivers and significantly reduce the risk of injury or greater tragedy for children in the event of an accident. And yet, Illinois State Police have found that 90 percent of the child safety seats they inspect are improperly installed.
"I understand how difficult it can be to install child safety seats correctly but, when used properly, they are proven to save lives," said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. "Our goal this summer is to help parents keep their kids safe while on the road and, along with our free kid's ID service, give parents peace of mind."
To make it quick, convenient and fun for parents, grandparents and children alike, K.I.S.S. events will be held at family friendly locations, including children's museums, local Ikea stores, Tollway oases and several Walgreens locations. The 2014 K.I.S.S. events will kick off on Saturday, June 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ikea in Bolingbrook and will wrap up with the 7th Annual Family Safety Fair at Tollway headquarters in Downers Grove on Saturday, September 20.
In 2013, the Tollway and District 15 successfully teamed up to host 10 K.I.S.S. events throughout the region. Altogether, a total of more than 300 child safety seats were inspected and nearly 1,200 kids were issued identification cards last year.
More than 2,100 children -- almost two children per minute -- are reported missing every day in the United States. And it's estimated that 34 percent of American parents wouldn't be able to accurately describe their child to law enforcement, including details of exact height and weight, as well as their child's eye color. Many lost children can be located if parents immediately provide police with an accurate description of the child.
The 2014 K.I.S.S. events will offer parents and caregivers the opportunity to have identification cards created for children age 3 and older. Specially trained professionals will take kids' photographs and fingerprints and gather vital information to include on three personal identification cards -- one for home and two for a wallet or purse. This information will not be stored by police, but rather, used by parents and others in the event of an emergency.
K.I.S.S. events also provide certified child passenger safety technicians to inspect and install child safety seats and help drivers stay up-to-date with the latest safety seat information and educational materials.
Nationally, research on the effectiveness of child safety seats has found them to reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants younger than 1 year old and by 54 percent for toddlers 1 to 4 years old in passenger cars, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Of children ages 8 and under who died in crashes in 2012, 31 percent were unrestrained, according to the NHTSA.
"Securing proper safety restraints for children is the law, and no child should travel in a vehicle without being properly restrained at all times," said District 15 Commander Patrick Kimes. "Our safety education officers make it their priority to work with schools and communities to ensure that safety seats and restraints are in compliance and checked often. K.I.S.S. events also help parents and caregivers make the adjustments needed to keep all kids safe at every stage."
K.I.S.S. events also offer a convenient way for drivers to make sure they comply with Illinois law, which requires that whenever a person is transporting a child under age 8, the person is responsible for properly securing the child in an appropriate child restraint system.
2014 K.I.S.S. Events
The 2014 K.I.S.S. program launches on Saturday, June 28, with an event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ikea located at 750 E. Boughton Road in Bolingbrook. Safety seat inspections will take place in the family parking lot located east of the store's main entrance, while kids' I.D. cards will be processed in the store's lobby. At the event, the Radio Disney Road Crew will roll in with its high-intensity, to provide music, games, fun and prizes to kids and families, kids can climb aboard and get behind the wheel of an Illinois Tollway Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (H.E.L.P.) truck or a 26-ton snow plow and Ikea will offer other activities to keep children entertained.
To participate, parents, grandparents and caregivers should bring child safety seats, children and the vehicle in which the child safety seats will be installed. Information on recalls and recall detection, correct positioning, correct sizing to protect the child most effectively, plus additional safety information and resources will be offered at these events.
K.I.S.S. events are scheduled at a variety of locations along the 286-mile Illinois Tollway system throughout Northern Illinois:
Saturday, June 28 Bolingbrook Ikea 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Thursday, July 3 Chicago Southland Lincoln Oasis 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, July 5 Kohl Children's Museum 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Friday, July 18 Downers Grove Walgreens 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday, July 25 Streamwood Walgreens 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, July 26 Schaumburg Ikea 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Friday, August 1 Schaumburg Walgreens 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, August 9 Rockford Discovery Center Museum 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Friday, August 15 Aurora Walgreens 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, August 16 Hinsdale Oasis 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Friday, August 22 Lemont Walgreens 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, August 3 DuPage Children's Museum 10 a.m. to p.m.
Saturday, September 20 Illinois Tollway Family Safety Fair 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information about K.I.S.S. events, visit the Tollway's website at www.illinoistollway.com.
About the Illinois Tollway
The Illinois Tollway is a user-fee system that receives no state or federal funds for maintenance and operations. The agency maintains and operates 286 miles of interstate tollways in 12 counties in Northern Illinois, including the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355), the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) and the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80).