Helping New Parents Born Every Day
Stephanie M. Tombrello, LCSW, CPSTI, Executive Director Emeritus of SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. has been involved in child passenger safety since 1970. While shopping for a car seat for her 4-month-old daughter, she learned that using a crash-tested safety seat correctly could protect her baby from injury in a car crash and that this was the #1 cause of death and serious injury to children. She was shocked to learn that most of the car seats in stores were unsafe!
As a result, she created the Child Safety Project of Women for Political and Social Action in 1972 in Pasadena, California. She and several other early pioneers in the field successfully petitioned the federal government to require crash testing for child restraints.
In 1979, California Office of Traffic Safety recognized her involvement in CPS and asked for help in setting up a state conference. At the conference, on January 29,1980, Stephanie was one of 15 volunteers who founded a grassroots organization, Los Angeles Area Child Passenger Safety Association, which evolved to become SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A.
Over the years, she has participated in development of both the technical and program aspects of the field and has been instrumental in major changes in government regulations, such as HR 4616 to expand funding for child passenger safety nationwide in 1984, attended the White House Rose Garden signing for her petition which resulted in the federal government requirement for manufacturers to provide shoulder belts in the rear seats of all post-1989 passenger vehicles.
Stephanie is a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician-Instructor. She was appointed to the National Blue Ribbon Panel on Child Restraint & Vehicle Compatibility in 1995. More recently, she provided support for federal legislation to improve testing of safety seats and resources for parents. The major awards received are the 1962 “Mademoiselle” Merit Award in Social Work, the 1981 Award for Individual Achievement from the California Child Passenger Safety Association, the 1983 Award for Public Service from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 1997 Diamond Mike Award from Mitsubishi Motors, the 1999 Annemarie Shelness Award for Lifetime Achievement in Child Passenger Safety, and, on behalf of the organization, the 2006 Two Thumbs Up Award from Kohl’s Department Stores, and the 2008 “PAL of the Year” Award from the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Los Angeles Chapter. In June 2014, she was recognized as a Woman of Achievement by the YWCA, Azusa, CA, and most recently in 2017, she was included in the initial Hall of Fame devised by the Manufacturers’ Alliance for Child Passenger Safety.
As Stephanie reminds us often, “Pediatric programs never can end as a new parent is born every day.”
Executive Director: Marc Cohen
To help reduce the number of serious and fatal traffic injuries suffered by children by promoting the correct, consistent use of safety seats and safety belts.
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A certified instructor at SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. offered to help me with our two car seats. They took the time to explain and teach me how to install the seats and how to keep my children safer in the car.
A few months later, both children were in my Expedition. As we exited a parking lot, we were slammed on the right side where my one-year-old sat. He was not making any noise! I panicked. His side of the car was crushed. Finally, my little one started screaming.
Ignoring my pain, I climbed into the back seat and was able to see them. Emergency vehicles arrived and I was put in an ambulance (turns out I had a concussion, two spinal fractures, and two herniated discs in my back).A firefighter told me that both my children were fine and that what saved them was how well their car seats were installed and how well they fit into them. I am forever grateful to SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. for saving my children’s lives that day, it would have been a lot worse had it not been for their car seats being installed properly.
Six Simple Ways to Save Children
The correct use of a child restraint system appropriate for a child’s age SAVES LIVES. You can help SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. keep children safe:
$4,000: Covers production costs of public service announcements
$5,000: Funds a car seat checkup event in an underserved community
$8,000: Sends two Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPST) to a Safety Education Conference
$9,000: Funds the monthly webinars covering new laws, new seats, and reviews studies about child passenger safety
$10,000: Covers a distribution event of 100 free booster seats to schools
$11,000: Funds the training of 25 English-speaking and bilingual Child Passenger Safety Technicians
Any amount supports the nonprofit’s advocacy for correct child restraint usage.
California Office of Traffic Safety
Los Angeles County Department
of Public Health
City of Torrance
American Honda Motor Co.
Toyota Motors North America
Volkswagen of America