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Standing behind a Chevy Tahoe, Wolf Scout Thomas Dinunzio (above) first appears in the car’s rear-view mirror when he’s eight feet behind the vehicle. Demonstrations like these—including how to properly use a booster seat and seat belt (below)—help illustrate the importance of automotive safety.


at an especially high risk for accidental injury,” says Jeanne Cosgrove, director of Safe Kids Clark County and the organizer of this event. “That’s why the Cub Scout partnership with us is so perfect.” The local Safe Kids coalition


provides the trainers who teach the vehicle safety skills. The dealership supplies the vehicles and hands each Cub Scout a patch at the completion of the course. And the BSA supplies— what else?—the kids. That makes the event a slam dunk


for Cub Scouts and pack leaders who show up for a fun morning of instruc- tional activities and for parents who are used to days, or weeks, of planning for an afternoon activity. On the morning of the event, Cub


Scouts and parents take a “pre-test.” The boys answer questions such as, “Is it OK to play in the trunk of a car?” and “When is it OK to play near a car?” Parents respond to questions that include, “What is the safest position for a lap and shoulder seat belt?” and “How much should a child weigh to best fit in a booster seat?” “We’ve developed the program


so that not only kids, but parents get educated, too,” says Wes Bender, manager of West Coast operations for the program. Bender emphasizes that a key element of the experience requires that parents and Cub Scouts attend together. “When you can teach a child and a parent at the same time,


30 S COUTING ¿ January•FEBruary 2013


it makes a perfect impact,” he says. After the pre-test, Cub Scouts


receive a “passport” and travel to different vehicle stations with their parents to learn safety skills. At one such station, Safe Kids trainer Jo Preston emphasizes to “Never leave a child alone in a car.” With two thermometers, one on the inside and another on the outside of the vehicle, Preston demonstrates just how quickly car interiors can heat up in the Nevada sun. “On a day that’s 90 degrees—


which is pleasant in Las Vegas—the car will heat up to 120 degrees in just 20 minutes,” she tells the wide-eyed Cub Scouts. “The next time your parents want to leave you in the car, even for a minute, tell them, ‘Take me with you!’” Rob Weinstock, a father and den


leader from Pack 578 says the best part of the program for him is that it empowers the kids with knowledge of what to do. “In most vehicle-related tragedies,” he says, “the parents make the mistake. But after this, my kids will call me on it if I leave them alone.” At the next station, Cub Scouts also


learn that trunks are only for cargo and see the special glow-in-the-dark emergency release handle found inside the trunks of vehicles. The boys also check out the OnStar button, standard equipment inside all General Motors vehicles that a parent or child can press to receive emergency help.


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