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The Greater Milwaukee Auto Show is coming to town Saturday, February 25 through Sunday, March 5 at the Wisconsin Center downtown. For many families, this is a fun annual event — a way to experience, see and touch all of the latest makes and models of shiny new cars. It also offers an opportunity for you to review passenger safety. The Kohl’s Cares Grow Safe & Healthy Program, a partnership of Kohl’s Cares and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, offers some important reminders for parents and caregivers to review and share with their kids:

Model good behavior
They are paying attention more than you’ll ever know. The best way to teach your children the importance of passenger safety is to model it yourself. Always wear a seatbelt, keep your eyes on the road, and leave your cell phone alone.

Distracted driving
Every 24 seconds in the United States, there is a crash caused by distracted driving. While texting and driving is a leading cause of distraction behind the wheel, distracted driving is ANY activity that takes a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. Plan ahead by eating, organizing, knowing where you are headed and getting your kids situated before you drive so you can stay focused on the road.

Teach kids to be safe passengers
Just listening to someone talk results in decreased brain activation, which means as a driver, you are concentrating less on the road. Teach your kids how to be good passengers, to sit still, speak quietly and avoid wild behavior. Let them know that driving and riding is serious business, and that they can do their part to help you drive safely.

Back seat/buckle up
Children should always wear a seatbelt and be in the proper seat based upon their age and weight. If you need a refresher on best practices for car seats, booster seats and seatbelts, visit chw.org/carseats. You can also find a booster and car seat clinic location if you need help installing a child seat. In addition, all children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat on every trip, no matter how short.

Keep Spriggy Safe Mobile Tour

If you go to the Auto Show, be sure to look for the Kohl’s Cares Grow Safe & Healthy Mobile Tour at the event the weekend of February 25-26. This is one of the first stops of the year for this interactive safety tour, which will travel to more than 50 community events throughout Eastern Wisconsin in 2017. Your kids can try out an interactive game at the kiosks called Keep Spriggy Safe. If you haven’t met Spriggy yet, he is a loveable blue character who finds himself in dangerous situations. Through his own mishaps, he teaches kids how to stay safe in the home, around the home and on the go. The Mobile Tour Street Team also has free, fun safety giveaways and information for kids and parents alike.

For more passenger safety information and free family safety tips on a variety of topics by age, visit KohlsSafeandHealthy.com. See you at the Auto Show!

Katie Horrigan is manager of the Kohl’s Cares Grow Safe & Healthy Program and director of Community Education and Outreach, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services

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