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GMAC Insurance Offers Unique Child Seat Replacement Benefit


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Sept. 23, 2008 - In honor of Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 21 - 27, GMAC Insurance today announced a unique benefit to its customers, now offering child seat replacement in the event of a crash to ensure children are traveling as safely as possible.

Additionally, in light of a recent GMAC Insurance survey that indicated more than one third of licensed drivers have misconceptions about proper child safety restraint procedures, the company is providing critical safety tips for all parents.

Specifically, to keep even child passengers as safe as possible, GMAC Insurance offers child safety seat reimbursement for all policies with collision coverage. If a customer is in a crash with a child sitting in the safety seat, GMAC Insurance will replace the child safety seat.

"In the event of a crash - even a minor fender-bender - the quality of a child safety seat may be compromised, even if no damage is visible," said Wade Bontrager, vice president, marketing, GMAC Insurance. "At GMAC Insurance, our smallest passengers deserve our greatest attention, so we're now offering customers a unique benefit, child seat replacement in the event of a crash to ensure the safest travel possible."

A recent GMAC Insurance survey indicated confusion regarding proper restraint procedures. In the GMAC Insurance survey of 5,524 licensed drivers, 41 percent incorrectly identified the minimum age and weight requirements prior to switching a child seat from rear-facing to forward-facing (correct answer: the child should be at least one year old and 20 pounds). Thirty-four percent did not know the correct step to take once a child has outgrown a forward-facing car seat (correct answer: they should be buckled in a booster seat in the back seat only). In addition, only 41 percent responded that 13 years old is the acceptable age for a child to be able to ride in the front seat (rule of thumb: children under 13 ride in the back).

Safe Child Restraint Habits

Laws regarding the age and weight requirements for child passenger restraints vary by state. However, GMAC Insurance offers these general safety guidelines for drivers carrying the most precious cargo:

-- Do your research: Child safety seats come in many makes and models, so do your homework to find the one that will best suit your needs. NHTSA's 2008 Child Safety Seat Ease of Use Ratings compares 101 child safety seats with a new five-star rating system (visit ).

-- Get inspected: Although you may think your seat is installed correctly, the safest bet is to attend a local child seat inspection event, or visit your local police or fire department, which are specially trained in child seat safety. These events demonstrate how to correctly install your seats, and many teach local regulations, too.

-- Get a new seat: If you've been in a crash with your child - even a minor one - the integrity of the safety seat may be compromised, and it should be replaced. Check with your insurance company to see if they will cover the replacement cost (GMAC Insurance offers child seat replacement as part of every policy with collision coverage).

  In addition, NHTSA outlines four steps for safe child seat protocol:

  -- Rear-facing - for children under 1 year old and less than 20 pounds at
  -- Forward-facing - for children at least 1 year old and 20 to 40 pounds
  -- Booster seat - for children under 4'9"
  -- Seat belts - for children taller than 4'9"

"There are a lot of ways to ensure children are safe passengers," said Bontrager. "But one of the easiest things a parent can do is to always buckle up themselves. A good example sets the tone for good safety habits throughout a child's life."