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Advancing child passenger safety in China

Posted on Sep. 3, 2014 ( comments)
Wu Jiang, general manager of Diono China, takes a photo of Xioa Dong Wang as she learns about car seat safety with MultiCare child safety educator Dana Hutchinson.
Some 35,000 child passenger safety technicians work in the United States. 

In China, there are two.  

Their names are Wu Jiang and Xioa Dong Wang. Jiang is the general manager for the Puyallup-based car seat manufacturer, Diono, at its office in China. Wang is chief editor for a popular Chinese parenting site, ifeng.

The two women recently traveled to the US to learn everything they could about keeping kids safe in moving cars, and MultiCare Health System was proud to be part of their training. 

Car seats are available in China but are not commonly used. In fact, Jiang said when car seats first appeared on retail shelves three years ago, most people in China didn't know what they were. 

"Our job is to tell parents how important car seats are to save a child's life and convince people to put babies in car seats," said Jiang. "There is no law in China requiring people to use car seats. Most people hold babies in their laps."

Cost and culture are the two biggest challenges to widespread adoption of car seats in China. In a nation with a strict one-child policy, a car seat can be viewed as an expensive investment. 

Wang said her primary blog readers, young parents, are accepting of new information. But Chinese grandparents, who commonly help raise children, can be stubborn about changing their views. 

"It's safety awareness," Wang said. "This is not just for child safety, it's for adults too. Kids and adults need to buckle up."

Across the US, MultiCare and Diono have worked together for years to raise awareness for child passenger safety. Diono global safety advocate Allana Pinkerton and MultiCare child safety educator Dana Hutchinson promote child safety together at national conferences and certification classes. Diono and MultiCare also sponsor the Safe Kids Coalition in Pierce County. 

"We are a collaborative community and share the same national standards. It's all about saving children's lives," said Pinkerton.

Recently, Pinkerton brought Jiang and Wang to the free public car seat inspection MultiCare holds at its Safe and Sound building every week, because she wanted China's first passenger safety technicians to see a hospital-based program. Such a program might not exist in China now, but it could become a possibility. 

As two expectant parents drove away, Jiang noted what is shared even where cultures and regulations are different.

"Even though American parents have car seats, they may not know how to properly use them," she said. "American parents and Chinese parent face the same challenges."

Need a car seat inspection? 

Car seat inspections are offered at the Safe and Sound building in Tacoma on Tuesdays from 9-10:30 a.m., no appointment necessary. The building is located at 1112 S. 5th St. (corner of 5th and L streets). To check for holiday or weather related closures, call the Mary Bridge Car Seat Help Line at 253.403.1417.  

Good Samaritan Hospital also offers car seat inspections on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, call the Mary Bridge Car Seat Help Line at 253.403.1417.

About The Author

Jen Rittenhouse Jen Rittenhouse
Jen Rittenhouse is the social media manager for MultiCare and Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. She writes stories that connect people with hospitals, health care and each other. You can reach her at [email protected].
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