Who We Are
Stephanie M. Tombrello, L.C.S.W. Executive Director of SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. has been involved in child passenger safety since 1970. While shopping for a car seat for her 4-month-old daughter, she learned that using a crash-tested safety seat correctly could protect her baby from injury in a car crash and that this was the #1 cause of death and serious injury to children. She was shocked to learn that most of the car seats in stores were unsafe!
As a result, she created the Child Safety Project of Women for Political and Social Action in 1972 in Pasadena, California. She and several other early pioneers in the field successfully petitioned the federal government to require crash testing for child restraints.
In 1980, Stephanie founded a grassroots organization, the Los Angeles Area Child Passenger Safety Association, which evolved to become SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. Soon after, the CA Office of Traffic Safety recognized her involvement in CPS and asked for help in setting up a state conference.
Over the years, she has participated in development of both the technical and program aspects of the field and has been instrumental in major changes in government regulations, such as HR 4616 to expand funding for child passenger safety nationwide and in 1984, attended the White House Rose Garden signing for her petition which resulted in the federal requirement for manufacturers to provide shoulder belts in the rear seats of all post-1989 passenger vehicles.
Stephanie is a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician-Instructor and was appointed to the National Blue Ribbon Panel on Child Restraint & Vehicle Compatibility in 1995. More recently, she provided support for recently enacted federal legislation to improve testing of safety seats and resources for parents. The major awards received are the 1962 “Mademoiselle” Merit Award in Social Work, the 1981 Award for Individual Achievement from the California Child Passenger Safety Association, the 1983 Award for Public Service from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 1997 Diamond Mike Award from Mitsubishi Motors, the 1999 Annemarie Shelness Award for Lifetime Achievement in Child Passenger Safety, on behalf of the organization, the 2006 Two Thumbs Up Award from Kohl’s Department Stores, and the 2008 “PAL of the Year” Award from the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Los Angeles Chapter. In June 2014, she was recognized as a Woman of Achievement by the YWCA, Azusa, CA, and most recently in 2017, she was included in the initial Hall of Fame devised by the Manufacturers Alliance for Child Passenger Safety.
As Stephanie reminds us often, “Pediatric programs never can end as a new parent is born every day.”
Board of Directors
PRESIDENT: Bonnie Oseas
SECRETARY: Karen Proctor, CPNP, CPST
TREASURER: John Nisbet, CPSTI
Holly Terry, CPSTI
Ivy Chang, LCSW, CPST
Zofia Chciuk, RNC, MSN, IBCLC
Marc Cohen, CPSTI
Anne Hamilton, CPST
Bonnie Lovette, RN, MS, PNP, CPST, Sp.Needs
David Myers, CPST
Becky Thams, MA
Vera Fullaway, CPSTI
Monica Quisgard, BA, MBA, CPSTI, EMT
Laura Rohnert Simmons, PT, PCS, CPST, CLEC
Darren K. Qunell, CPST
Annette Knobloch, DNS, RN, MPH
Casey Hill, MSN, RN-BC, CEN, CPST
Tamara Franks, MA, CPSTI
Sharon Evans, RN, BSN, CPN, CPSTI
Wendy Thomas, CPSTI, Sp. Needs
Howard M. Ehrenberg, Esq. SulmeyerKupetz
D. O. “Spike” Helmick, Retired Commissioner, California Highway Patrol
Charles A. Hurley, Retired Executive Director, MADD
Sean Kane, Safety Research & Strategies, Inc.
Ellen R. Knell, PhD
Harvey G. Knell
Deane Leavenworth, President, Leavenworth Endeavors
Sandra Tsing Loh, radio commentator and author, “Mother on Fire”
Talulah Riley, Actor
Michael Sachs, MD, General Pediatrician
Teresa Samaniego, Vice President, Diversity & Community Relations, KABC
Arthur M. Southam, MD
Robert S. Vinetz, MD, FAAP, Queens Care Family Clinics
Brett Wood, Chairman, Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A., Inc.
Staff and Consultants
Executive Director: Stephanie M. Tombrello, LCSW, CPSTI
Project Coordinator: John Stubbs, CPSTI, Sp. Needs
Program Consultant: Heidi Heflin, RN, MN, CNS, CPST-I, Sp. Needs, School Bus Transport
Program Consultant: Kate Quirk, PhD, CPST-I, Sp. Needs
Catharine Maroquin, CPSTI
Trisha Stites, CPSTI, Sp. Needs, School Bus Transport
Mellisa Ramirez, CPSTI, Sp. Needs
Kristen Sanders, CPSTI, Sp. Needs, School Bus Transport
Lacey Holmquist, CPST
The national non-profit organization dedicated to child passenger safety since 1980