NHTSA proposes to model its strategic approach for promoting protecting
older child passengers and increasing the use of booster seats after
the four elements of the BUA campaign. These elements are: (1) public-private
partnerships, (2) strong legislation, (3) active, high-visibility
law enforcement, and (4) effective public education. Under the BUA
campaign, combining these four elements into a strategic approach
was so successful that the campaign reached its child passenger
safety goal one year early. It reduced child occupant fatalities
among children age 4 and younger by 15 percent in 1999 instead of
the target date of 2000.
Over the past several years, NHTSA has helped form a cadre of strong
partnerships with public and private organizations that have contributed
time, millions of dollars, and other resources to promote child
passenger safety. Partner contributions have included promoting
and disseminating child passenger safety messages, providing child
safety seats to local loaner programs, and establishing a network
of fitting/inspection stations. NHTSA will work with existing partners
and bring on new ones to assist in increasing booster seat use.
Although every State has a child occupant protection law, some
laws include only very young children (some cover only ages 2 and
younger) and some only cover passengers riding in the front seat.
Some States exempt pickup trucks and vans. Child occupant protection
laws should cover every child (up to age 16), in every seating position,
in every passenger vehicle.
To close the gaps in child occupant protection laws, NHTSA will
continue to provide sound scientific data and technical assistance
that will make it easier for States and communities to enact and
strengthen legislation (and ordinances) to address the need to place
all children in occupant protection restraints, emphasizing securing
4- to 8-year-olds in booster seats.
Active, High-Visibility Law
A commitment to enforcing child occupant protection laws does not
require extensive training on correct use. An officer need only
observe a child who is at risk and do something about it. To ensure
that children ride safely, law enforcement should take action on
every child restraint law violation they see. Law enforcement officers
are in a unique position to educate the public about the importance
of securing children in age/size appropriate occupant restraints
and about always seating children in the back seat of motor vehicles.
Therefore, NHTSA will continue to encourage law enforcement agencies
to enforce child occupant protection laws and to educate the public
about the importance of securing children in age/size appropriate
Effective Public Education
Public education, especially when combined with enforcement, plays
an integral role in any effort to encourage people to acquire new
habits and behaviors. Public education includes a broad range of
activities, such as high-visibility enforcement campaigns, promotional
events, and community-based initiatives. Through these activities,
public education can raise awareness about the dangers children
face when they ride unrestrained and promote the benefits of age/size
appropriate occupant restraints. However, to be effective, these
activities must be well planned and well coordinated.
To educate the public about the benefits of using and the proper
fit of booster seats, activities can range from national campaigns,
to instructional programs at schools and fitting/inspection stations,
to one-on-one discussions delivered by health care professionals
or childcare workers. The crucial element is that the public receive
a single, simple message - often and in many different ways. As
appropriate media and channels for educating the public about booster
seats are identified, NHTSA will build on existing child passenger
safety programs and initiatives and identify the need for new strategic
Tracking and Monitoring
To monitor successes and activities in each strategic area, NHTSA
will use a variety of information gathering and data analysis techniques.
To measure the goals and the objectives, NHTSA will use data from
FARS, GES, NASS, CDS, and NOPUS. It also will monitor trends in
booster seat use through its household and observational surveys,
and it will collect information on the following types of activity:
- New and upgraded State legislation on child passenger safety;
- Establishment of new fitting/inspection stations;
- Increases in partner activities promoting booster seat use;
- Collaboration with new strategic partners;
- Production of new booster seats;
- Law enforcement participation in national Operation ABC (America
Buckles up Children) mobilizations;
- New research on the effects of premature graduation to adult
seat belts; and
- The National Child Passenger Safety training program.
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at schools and inspection stations
|One-on-one discussions delivered by health care professionals or childcare workers
|NHTSA will use a variety of information gathering and data analysis techniques. The Agency will monitor trends in booster seat use through its household and observational surveys.
|Effective Public Education
|Under the BUA campaign,
combining these four elements into a strategic approach was
so successful that the campaign reached one of its national
goals a year early.