Child passenger safety was always a priority for three-time Paralympic Gold Medalist Alana Nichols, yet it grew to an even greater, intensely personal level of importance when she became a mom. When she learned that only one in four car seats is installed correctly, she was spurred to action.
“I was shocked when I heard that statistic,” says Nichols. “But perhaps I should not have been because I am the first to acknowledge car seat installation can be difficult. So, it’s important for people to know there is a program available – Buckle Up for Life – that can help ensure your car seat is installed correctly.” So, Nichols teamed up with Buckle Up for Life – a national child passenger safety program created by Toyota and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center – to promote the importance of child passenger safety in vehicles.
Nichols shares her personal story in the PSA, which includes scenes of her playing with her 3-year-old son, Gunnar, as well as the two of them driving through their Reno, Nevada, neighborhood in her Toyota Sienna.
Through community events and online resources, Buckle Up for Life provides parents and caregivers the latest information to help find the right seats for their children, and how to install and use those seats properly. They also provide in-person assistance through their local partner agencies.
“Alana’s passion for child passenger safety and her partnership with Buckle Up for Life will help raise awareness to help save lives,” says Gloria Del Castillo, child passenger safety expert at Cincinnati Children’s and senior specialist of community engagement for Buckle Up for Life. “As an athlete, a mom and a member of Team Toyota, her message resonates with parents and caregivers across the nation.”
It’s a message that bears repeating, as new parents and caregivers approach car seat installation for the first time on a continuous basis.
“Buckle Up for Life strives to ensure families have the resources and education they need to keep their children safe on the road,” says Keith Jones, senior manager, Strategic Partnerships, Mobility, Toyota Motor North America. “Alana’s support and her heartfelt video message will reach thousands of families. And, at Toyota, we will share her message with team members, customers, and other Toyota partners throughout the nation.”
Indeed, Nichols is a role model for athletes, women, moms and anyone who believes in limitless possibilities.
An avid snowboarder throughout her youth, in 2000 at age 17, Nichols injured her back while attempting a backflip on her snowboard. The injury caused her to be paralyzed from the waist down, but she quickly transitioned to adaptive sports. She is a five-time Paralympian, and six-time medalist. Nichols is the first American female to win gold medals at both the summer (Wheelchair Basketball) and winter Alpine Ski Racing) Paralympic Games.