promotion of booster seats has been an important part of the BUA
campaign's child passenger safety activities. For the past
several years, NHTSA, its partners, and the private sector have
incorporated messages, statistics, and best practices information
about the lifesaving benefits of booster seats throughout their
wide-ranging child passenger safety programming and communications
These child passenger safety initiatives have included a special
focus on reaching traditionally underserved populations. NHTSA will
continue this focus as it expands these initiatives to promote the
use of booster seats. The following information highlights current
efforts that promote the correct progression of occupant restraint
use for children.
Public Awareness and Education
- 4 Steps for Kids is a NHTSA marketing campaign currently
in operation to promote the proper use of each type of restraint.
- In partnership with the Advertising Council, Inc., NHTSA
is developing a national media campaign about booster seats.
sector partnerships, such as the "SAFE KIDS BUCKLE UP"
program supported by General Motors and DaimlerChrysler's
"Fit for a Kid" campaign, support NHTSA in educating
the public about the importance of using age/size appropriate
child restraints. NHTSA also has been a close partner in the development
and refinement of the "Boost America!" program sponsored
by Ford Motor Company, which distributed newly developed preschool
and early elementary school curricula (in conjunction with Nickelodeon)
promoting booster seat use. In recent years, other private sector
supported Child Passenger Safety (CPS) programs have been developed
by Nissan North America, Volkswagen of America, State Farm Insurance,
- High-visibility activities are conducted nationwide annually
during CPS Week in mid-February to heighten public awareness about
the importance of correct child safety seat use. NHTSA develops
educational, outreach, and media materials to support efforts conducted
by advocates at the local level. Booster seat use was at the core
of the 2000 and 2001 programs. In 2002/03, the materials will continue
to reinforce the importance of booster seat use using the 4 Steps
For Kids approach. This approach emphasizes the correct ages, weights,
and heights at which children can safely transition from each type
of restraint systeminfant seat, child seat, booster seat,
and adult seat belt.
- For the past several years, in May and November, the Air Bag &
Seat Belt Safety Campaign (a national non-profit organization
supported financially by the insurance companies, the automobile
industry, and air bag manufacturers), in partnership with NHTSA
and the States, has conducted high-visibility, stepped-up law
enforcement mobilizations to enforce seat belt and child passenger
safety laws. NHTSA supports the national Operation ABC mobilizations
by engaging its network of partner organizations to conduct activities,
disseminate information, and organize publicity to increase awareness
of law enforcement efforts to protect children and the importance
of age/size appropriate child restraint systems.
NHTSA is developing bilingual and culturally appropriate child
passenger safety intervention strategies, and educational materials
for Spanish-speaking families, in conjunction with the National
Latino Children's Institute and other highly regarded Hispanic
organizations. Increasing booster seat use is an integral part
of this effort.
is reproducing a brochure titled "Keep Your Child Safe While
Traveling," developed by the Injury Prevention Program at
United Tribes Technical College. The brochure includes information
about all child safety seat systems, including booster seats.
It is designed specifically for Native Americans and is available
through NHTSA's Web site (www.nhtsa.dot.gov)
and print materials catalog.
- Four booklets ("A Parent's Guide to Booster Seats,"
"Are You Using It Right?," "Child Transportation
Safety Tips," and "Buying A Safer Car For Child Passengers,
2002") provide parents and other caregivers with important
information about age/size appropriate child restraints, the correct
use of child restraints, and the benefits of occupant protection.
NHTSA and its partner organizations in the child passenger advocacy
community distribute these materials throughout the country.
- NHTSA will continue to produce educational videos on topics
such as child safety seats and booster seats, youth occupant protection,
airbag safety, and adult occupant protection.
- NHTSA's Web site has a separate section devoted to child
passenger safety. It serves as a public information resource on
appropriate child passenger restraints, proper installation of child
restraints, and where to find local fitting/inspection stations.
Included are dozens of full-color photographs of booster seats and
other types of child safety seats with step-by-step installation
guidelines. All NHTSA educational publications are available on
the NHTSA Web site.
- NHTSA's toll-free hotline [1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236)]
is staffed by operators who provide answers to a variety of questions,
including child passenger safety.
Training and Technical Assistance
- A Model Occupant Restraint Law (02/06/01) was developed in
partnership with the National Transportation Safety Board, the Governors
Highway Safety Association, and the National Committee on Uniform
Traffic Laws and Ordinances. The model law provides States with
specific guidelines for developing and revising child occupant protection
- The National Child Passenger Safety Board represents a partnership
between State governments and private sector organizations. The
purpose of the board is to manage the implementation of the NHTSA
Standardized CPS Training and AAA Certification Program. The 19-member
board provides guidance to States, organizations, and others wishing
to implement child passenger safety training programs to benefit
- More than 32,000 child passenger safety technicians have
undergone at least 32 hours of CPS training and certification to
become eligible to install child safety seats and educate parents
and other caregivers on the proper installation of appropriate safety
restraints for children. This program, funded through a cooperative
agreement between NHTSA and the National Safety Council, and administered
by the States, will continue to provide additional training opportunities
(to include more diverse populations) and to maintain an up-to-date
training curriculum. There are also programs underway to increase
the number of Hispanic and other minority CPS technicians.
- Through its partnership with the U.S. Indian Health Service,
NHTSA is supporting CPS training and technical assistance programs
for tribal representatives. This training and technical assistance
includes information on booster seats.
- Operation Kids is a training program developed by NHTSA and
administered by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
The program teaches law enforcement officers about child passenger
safety including general information about child occupant protection
laws and the proper use of all child safety seats.
- A fitting/inspection station is a place where parents and
other caregivers can go to learn how to properly install child safety
seats and booster seats. NHTSA is developing a best practices planning
guide for States and organizations that wish to establish permanent
fitting/inspection stations. Many States have already established
fitting/inspection stations with incentive funds made available
through the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).
- NHTSA is developing a booklet titled "Protecting America's
Children: The Case for Strong Child Occupant Protection Laws"
to help States and communities close gaps in State child occupant
protection laws. The booklet will include a copy of the Model Child
Restraint Use Law, which is designed to make State laws consistent
with recommended best practices.
- The Ford Motor Company's "Boost America!"
campaign promotes and distributes booster seats. NHTSA was a lead
partner in the effort, offering technical assistance and coordination
with booster seat distribution activities in the States. The program
disseminated thousands of booster seats in its first year (2001)
and awarded financial assistance to local organizations to support
grassroots booster seat advocacy and distribution activities.
- As part of the "Boost America!" campaign to get
children to use booster seats, Ford donated 15,000 seats to Native
American youngsters in 17 States.
- NHTSA has a series of partnerships with national not-for-profit
organizations that receive NHTSA funding to support the BUA campaign.
Many of these cooperative agreements include a stipulation that
funded recipients devote significant energy to child passenger safety
activities, many of which include local initiatives for increasing
booster seat use.
- This past year, NHTSA adapted several child passenger safety
publications into Spanish and worked with media outlets to make
them available in Spanish-speaking communities.
- The agency will continue to collaborate with educators and
child safety advocates who work with Hispanic leaders to develop
community-based programs that address booster seat use.
- The NHTSA hotline has contracted with three Spanish-speaking
representatives who will respond to phone queries about child passenger
- The 2000 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey is the fourth
in a series of national telephone surveys on occupant protection
issues conducted by NHTSA. It consists of two separate questionnaires,
each administered to a national sample of about 6,000 persons age
16 and older. The survey asks a subgroup of parents and others who
live with children detailed questions about use of child restraints,
including the use of booster seats. As this plan goes to press,
reports summarizing results of the 2000 survey are being completed
and processed for publication.
- The Agency will conduct a follow-up to the 1996 child safety
seat misuse study. The new study, to be completed by spring 2003,
will be used to assess progress in curtailing child safety seat
and booster seat misuse and to develop educational messages targeted
at reducing the most dangerous forms of misuse.
- The Agency will conduct research into methods and procedures
for conducting a National Survey of Booster Seat Use and design
such a survey if it is deemed feasible. Currently, there are no
existing procedures for collection of booster seat use data that
would result in a nationally representative estimate.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety
Standard 213 (49 CFR 571.213)
In response to other requirements of the TREAD Act, NHTSA is considering
amendments to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 213,
which specifies performance requirements for child restraints. The
Agency is considering several initiatives to more fully evaluate
the dynamic performance of booster seats recommended for a wider
range of children.
Further, the Agency is in the process of developing, in conjunction
with the Society of Automotive Engineers, a 10-year-old dummy that
is envisioned to be used in the evaluation of booster seats for
children weighing approximately 80 pounds.
Assuming amendments to FMVSS 213 are finalized, manufacturers may
need to examine current booster seat models and make decisions about
developing new ones. This circumstance will provide them with opportunities
to produce new booster seats that may be more appealing to children
and easier to use in a variety of motor vehicles.
TEA-21 (P.L. 105-178) authorized programs for fiscal years (FY)
1998 2003. States and communities have been applying for
a number of highway safety grants that are used in part to promote
child passenger safety activities. The grant programs are as follows:
- State & Community Highway Safety Grant Program (23 U.S.C.§402)
- Seat Belt & Occupant Protection Programs (incentive and
innovative grant programs) (23 U.S.C.§157)
- Occupant Protection Incentive Grant Program (23 U.S.C.§405)
- Child Passenger Protection Education Grant Program [TEA-21,
§2003(b)]. This is the only highway safety grant program dedicated
solely to promoting child passenger safety activities. A State may
use these grant funds to implement programs that are designed to:
(1) prevent deaths and injuries to children; (2) educate the public
concerning all aspects of the proper installation of child restraints,
appropriate child restraint design, selection, and placement, and
harness threading and harness adjustment on child restraints; and
(3) train and retrain child passenger safety professionals, police
officers, fire and emergency medical personnel, and other educators
concerning all aspects of child restraint use. This grant program
was originally funded for only 2 years through FY 2001. It was extended
through NHTSA's FY 2002 appropriation.
In addition to the grant programs described above, under 23 U.S.C.§403,
NHTSA conducts demonstration grant programs to develop new approaches
and strategies to reduce motor vehicle related deaths and injuries.
Under Section 403, NHTSA awarded six Booster Seat Community Demonstration
Grant Programs (FY 2000-2001) totaling approximately $900,000 for
pilot and demonstration programs to implement strategies in the
community, to increase booster seat use for children weighing between
40 and 80 pounds.7 The demonstration programs also promoted seat
belt use for children ages 8 to 15. Messages and activities targeted
parents, children, young teens, and diverse populations.
Reauthorization of highway safety funding will occur during the
5-year span of this strategic plan. As the U.S. Department of Transportation
develops its reauthorization proposal, the goals and initiatives
identified in this report will be taken into consideration.
NHTSA also provides funding and a wide range of other support to
the annual Lifesavers Conference. Sessions on booster seat use and
issues facing older child passengers are a staple of this conference.
7At the time of the funding,
the agency's policy stated that children between 40 and 80
pounds be secured in a belt-positioning booster seat. The new recommendation
to determine readiness for a booster seat is that "all children
who have outgrown child safety seats should be properly restrained
in booster seats until they are at least 8 years old, unless they
are 4'9" tall."
Back to Top
|4 Steps For Kids Campaign
|Describes proper fit for each type of restraint
system—infant seat, child seat, booster seat, and adult seat
|NHTSA’s Hotline 1-888-327-4236
|All NHTSA educational publications are available
on the NHTSA Web site: www.nhtsa.dot.gov
|THE CHILD PASSENGER
SAFETY MODEL LAW
|Provides States with specific guidelines for
developing and revising child occupant protection laws.
|THE NATIONAL CHILD PASSENGER
|Provides guidance to States, organizations, and
others wishing to implement child passenger safety training
programs to benefit the public.
|Is a training program developed by NHTSA and
administered by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
The program teaches law enforcement officers about child passenger
agreements with national not-for-profit organizations support
local initiatives promoting child passenger safety and the use
of booster seats.
|Protecting Our Older
|This report contains legislative recommendations
to close the gaps in child occupant protection laws.
|NHTSA will perform research
into the feasibility of conducting a National Survey of Booster
|The Agency is considering
several initiatives to more fully evaluate the dynamic performance
of booster seats recommended for a wider range of children.
|The new recommendation to determine readiness for a booster seat is that "all children who have outgrown child safety seats should be properly restrained in booster seats until they are at least 8 years old, unless they are 4'9" tall.