Increasing Booster Seat Use for 4- to 8-Year-Old Children - October 2002Increasing Booster Seat Use for 4- to 8-Year-Old Children - October 2002  
NHTSA - People Saving People - www.nhtsa.dot.gov
  Skip navigation

Section Three: A Strategic Approach Built on the Successes of the Buckle Up America Campaign

   

Section Three: A Strategic Approach Built on the Successes of The Buckle Up America Campaign photo 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.

Public-Private Partnerships

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.

Strong Legislation

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 Enforcement

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 occupant restraints.

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 ones.

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.

Back to Top


National campaigns
Instructional programs 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.
Buckle Up America Logo
Public-Private Partnerships
Strong Legislation
Active, High-Visibility Law Enforcement
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.