Child Safety Information Just a Toll-Free Call Away: The Co-operators

GUELPH, ON, Feb. 27, 2006 – More than 12,000 parents contact the Infant and Toddler Safety Association’s (ITSA) volunteer telephone hotline each year. Starting this month, thanks to financial support from The Co-operators, their expert child safety advice is now just a toll-free call away.

Since 1980, ITSA, a volunteer-run registered charity based in Kitchener, Ontario, has been working to protect those who cannot protect themselves – our children. In addition to being a national authority on child car seats, ITSA works with community groups and individuals to promote child safety on a wide variety of matters. The new toll-free number is 1-888-570-0181.

“Our goal is to share expertise on child safety as broadly as possible, but as a volunteer-run organization with a limited budget, that can be a challenge,” said ITSA’s executive director Valerie Lee. “Our new toll-free line makes us that much more accessible to Canadians seeking information on child safety.”

ITSA’s partnership with The Co-operators began in 1999 with the development of the Buckle Up Bears car seat program. At free car seat clinics in communities across Canada, trained inspectors install child car seats and booster seats and help educate drivers on their proper use. ITSA’s expertise was vital to the program’s initial development, and it continues to provide all training and certification to participating car seat inspectors.

Together, The Co-operators and ITSA produce educational material, including “Boost Me Up!” a DVD for children and educational guide for caregivers, as well as posters and bookmarks designed to encourage and remind children to always use their booster seat. The Co-operators financial support to ITSA this year will total approximately $25,000, including the cost of the new toll-free telephone line.

Based in Guelph, Ontario, The Co-operators is a group of Canadian companies focussing on insurance, as well as investment products and property development. Owned by 32 Canadian co-operative organizations, The Co-operators provides insurance protection to more than a million Canadians. A member of the Imagine group of companies, The Co-operators is well known for its philanthropy and community involvement. .