ATLANTA -- The chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board criticized six automakers Monday for failing to establish programs to make sure children are properly secured in car safety seats.
Chairman Jim Hall scolded Volvo, Mitsubishi, Kia, Subaru, Suzuki and Isuzu in a speech at a national highway safety meeting in Atlanta.
He said the companies refused to set up ''fitting stations'' where parents could get advice on installing the seats. Government studies have shown that eight of 10 safety seats are installed incorrectly.
''I believe that all these car companies are run by responsible adults, and if they get the message effectively -- and maybe it needs to be repeated -- they will take the steps necessary to address the No. 1 health problem for kids,'' Hall said.
Transportation officials say properly used child seats cut the risk of fatal injuries in half. Common mistakes include using the wrong size seat.
Volvo spokesman Soren Johansson said he was not sure the NTSB had even approached his company about a child-safety program. ''Child safety has been on the agenda with us for years,'' Johansson said.
Representatives of the five other companies did not return calls for comment Monday.
Hall praised DaimlerChrysler and General Motors for their child-safety programs.
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