DOT Launches New PSAs About Car Seats
New public service announcements (PSAs) have been introduced to help get the message out to parents and caregivers about the importance of choosing the right car seat for each child and making sure it is properly installed. On Tuesday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the launch of the PSAs, released in partnership with the Ad Council, and created pro bono by the advertising agency Gotham, Inc.
The print ads, billboards, and PTAs promote car seat safety and are designed to make sure parents of children through the age of 12 do not take anything for granted. The good news, as a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) press release says, is that an estimated 8,959 lives were saved by child restraint systems from 1975 to 2008.
“But we can do better,” Secretary Ray LaHood writes on his blog, Fast Lane:
According to a NHTSA study, 3 out of 4 kids are not as secure in the car as they should be because their car seats are not sized properly or used correctly. […]
From rear-facing to forward-facing to booster to seat belt, making sure children are secured in a properly installed safety restraint is a critical step in protecting them from harm.
‘The Right Seat’ campaign explains that, ‘Parents who really know it all, know for sure their child is in the right car seat.’
The bad news, as the NHTSA press release notes, is:
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 through 12 years old. From 2006 to 2010, 4,028 children aged 12 and younger were killed in crashes involving passenger vehicles. Another estimated 660,000 children were injured in crashes — a figure greater than the entire population of Boston, Massachusetts.
“The proper use of a child seat is the most effective way to keep a child safe in a moving vehicle,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “Parents and caregivers should always use a child seat and, based on NHTSA’s updated guidelines, should keep their children in their current seats for as long as possible before moving them up to the next type of seat.”
Secretary LaHood asks parents and caregivers of children the following questions:
- Are you sure your child is really ready to move up to the next type of seat?
- Are you sure your child’s seat is securely installed?
- Are you sure your child is tall enough to be safely restrained in an adult seat belt?
In conjunction with the PSA campaign, the NHTSA has also launched Parents Central, a new website with tools and resources for keeping children safe in and around cars. Visitors to the site will find videos that show how to find the right seat for their child, the right fit for their car, the proper way to install child car seats, and a lot more.
Parents Central says to parents:
Here you will find answers to the most common questions you may have — whether you’re buying their first car seats or handing your teen their first sets of car keys. Should you let your kids walk to school? What about bikes or the big yellow school bus? How safe is my car? We can help you with all these answers and many more.
You can see one of the new PSA videos here:
Image by Safercar.gov, used under Fair Use: Reporting.