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Car seat education & enforcement campaigns

Health Factors: Community Safety
Decision Makers: Local Government State Government Federal Government Nonprofit Leaders
Evidence Rating: Scientifically Supported
Population Reach: 50-99% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: No impact on disparities likely

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Description

Community-wide information and enhanced enforcement campaigns combine targeted information about the importance of car seat use (i.e., infant, convertible, and booster seat use), proper use, and existing laws with enforcement strategies such as checkpoints, dedicated law enforcement officials, or alternatives to citations (Zaza 2001). Public information and education campaigns can include mass media efforts, distribution of educational material, officer visits to schools and child care centers, and other publicity about correct car seat use (CG-Motor vehicle injury). These efforts generally complement existing car seat laws and often emphasize the importance of booster seat use (NHTSA-Goodwin 2013).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Increased use of car seats

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is strong evidence that community-wide information and enhanced enforcement campaigns increase car seat use for younger children and older children in booster seats (CG-Motor vehicle injury, Towner 2001, NHTSA-Goodwin 2013, Porter 2011, NHTSA-Decina 2008). Such campaigns are effective in a variety of populations and settings (CG-Motor vehicle injury).

Support from top law enforcement management, funding dedicated to enforcement, and enforcement methods focused specifically on car seat laws have been shown to be the most effective approaches to these campaigns. Variation in the interpretation of existing state car seat laws can be challenges to enforcement (NHTSA-Goodwin 2013).

Implementation

United States

As of May 2015, only 12 states require a rear-facing car seat for children less than one year old and six states require a forward-facing car seat for children one to three years old (LawAtlas-Child car seat). 

Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington are examples of states with law enforcement agencies that have participated in training activities and publicity events and used a combination of dedicated checkpoints, roving patrols, stationary spots, and dedicated enforcement officials to support community-wide information and enhanced enforcement programs (NHTSA-Decina 2010).

Citations - Description

CG-Motor vehicle injury - The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide). Motor vehicle injury prevention. Accessed on December 19, 2016
NHTSA-Goodwin 2013 - Goodwin A, Sandt B, Hall W, Thomas L, O’Brien N, Summerlin D. Countermeasures that work: A highway safety countermeasure guide for state highway safety offices, 7th edition. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), US Department of Transportation (US DOT); 2013. Accessed on March 1, 2017
Zaza 2001 - Zaza S, Sleet DA, Thompson RS, Sosin DM, Bolen JC, Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to increase use of child safety seats. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2001;21(4 Suppl):31–47. Accessed on November 24, 2015

Citations - Evidence

CG-Motor vehicle injury - The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide). Motor vehicle injury prevention. Accessed on December 19, 2016
NHTSA-Decina 2008 - Decina LE, Lococo K, Ashburn W, Hall WB, Rose J. Identifying strategies to improve the effectiveness of booster seat laws. Washington DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); 2008. Accessed on February 15, 2016
NHTSA-Goodwin 2013 - Goodwin A, Sandt B, Hall W, Thomas L, O’Brien N, Summerlin D. Countermeasures that work: A highway safety countermeasure guide for state highway safety offices, 7th edition. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), US Department of Transportation (US DOT); 2013. Accessed on March 1, 2017
Porter 2011* - Porter BE, ed. Handbook of Traffic Psychology. London: Elsevier; 2011. Accessed on February 15, 2016
Towner 2001 - Towner E, Dowswell T, Mackereth C, Jarvis S. What works in preventing unintentional injuries in children and young adolescents: An updated systematic review. London, UK: Health Development Agency; 2001. Accessed on December 12, 2015

Citations - Implementation

LawAtlas-Child car seat - Law Atlas. Child car safety seat laws map. Accessed on March 14, 2016
NHTSA-Decina 2010 - Decina LE, Hall WL, Lococo KH. Booster seat law enforcement: Examples from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, Highway Safety Research Center, National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA); 2010. Accessed on December 8, 2015

Page Last Updated

March 14, 2016

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