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a Winning Poster on Riding Safety

Whitestone Student Honored At Boro Hall

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall presented a citation of honor to Rebecca Buckmaster, an eight-year-old thirdgrade student at P.S. 209 in Whitestone, in recognition of Rebecca winning the top prize in the Queens region for her entry in the recent “Sit-Click-Ride” poster contest.

The statewide contest for kids between eight- and 12-years-old was sponsored by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) and the New York State Child Passenger Safety Advisory Board, in conjunction with the state Department of Health and Safe Kids New York State, in an effort to encourage “tweens” (children from 8 to 12- years-old) and their parents to follow proper safety practices when tweens ride in motor vehicles.

The posters the contest entrants created emphasize the following points:

– A tween should always ride in the back seat of motor vehicle, never in the front.

– A tween should always wear a properly fastened seatbelt.

– A tween should use a booster seat until he or she is big enough to have a seat belt fit properly around him or her without the use of a booster. This usually happens when a child is between 8 and 10 years of age .”Vehicular crashes are a leading cause of injury and death among children, but studies have shown that a child who is properly restrained in the back seat of a vehicle is 38 percent less likely to be injured in a crash than one who is not.” Marshall said. “That’s why I am so pleased to recognize Rebecca for her outstanding poster contest entry, which encourages kids her age to ride safely when they are passengers in motor vehicles. After all, having just one child hurt or killed in a motor vehicle crash is one child too many.”

Although New York state law allows children eight-years-old and older to ride in motor vehicles without using a booster seat, safety experts say kids should still use a booster if they are not big enough to have a seat belt fit properly around them.

A properly fitted seat belt is one where the lap belt lays snuggly across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and where the shoulder belt lays snuggly across the shoulder and chest and does not cross the neck or face. Safety experts say most children who are less than four feet, nine inches tall should still use booster seats.

“Some parents assume an eightyear old no longer needs a booster seat, but that is not always the case,” Marshall said.

For the poster contest, Buckmaster and her fellow entrants were each asked to create an original, handdrawn art design with a “Sit-Click- Ride” message on an 11 x 81/2 inch (horizontal) sheet of paper. The designs were judged on approach, accuracy, effectiveness, originality and appearance.

Buckmaster’s entry was judged to be the best among the 53 entries submitted from Queens. It also came in third-place among all 983 entries submitted statewide.

“I can see from Rebecca’s poster that she may have a future as an artist, or perhaps as a traffic engineer,” Marshall said.

The presentation was held last Thursday, May 30, in Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens. Joining the Borough President and Rebecca were Buckmaster’s parents, Joseph and Pepi Buckmaster, her grandparents, David and Luanne Buckmaster, her little sister, four-year-old Sarah Buckmaster, and her school principal, Dr. Mary McDonnell.

Also in attendance were Cindy Brown, secretary of the Queens County Traffic Safety Board, and Mark Hoffacker of the New York Coalition for Traffic Safety, two GTSC-funded groups that promote traffic and pedestrian safety.

In addition to her Citation of Honor, Buckmaster also received a plaque and a Nook reader for her third-place statewide finish. Her entry will also appear in the 2013- 2014 “Sit-Click-Ride Traffic Safety Calendar” that the poster contest’s organizers will be distributing later this year.

Buckmaster’s entry and all the other entries from Queens will also soon be put on display in Borough Hall.

More information about child passenger safety can be found on the GTSC’s website at www.safeny.ny.gov.

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