Transportation Secretary LaHood Urges Parents to "Choose the Right Seat" for Children in Cars


WASHINGTON, April 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/  U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the launch of new public service announcements (PSAs) to raise awareness about the importance of choosing the right child safety seat and making sure it is installed properly. The ads, released in partnership with the Ad Council, promote car seat safety among parents of children up to age 12. Data from the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show an estimated 8,959 lives were saved by child restraint systems from 1975 to 2008.

"Safety is our top priority for everyone on our roadways, and we're calling on parents to do everything they can to protect our most vulnerable passengers," said Secretary LaHood. "Together, the new public service announcement and website will help parents understand the differences in child safety seats, make sure they choose the right seat for their child, and properly secure them every time they get behind the wheel."

Working with the Ad Council as part of an ongoing campaign to ensure child car safety, NHTSA unveiled new PSAs this morning that will air on television, radio, online and in outdoor advertising nationwide. "The Right Seat" effort aims to make sure all parents and caregivers are properly securing children ages 12 and under in the right car restraint (rear-facing, forward-facing, booster, seat belt) for their age and size. Targeting parents and caregivers who already use car seats, the key message of the PSAs is to remind parents to "make sure their child is in the right car seat."

Spanish-language PSAs on child seat safety will be released in early May 2012.

Coinciding with the release of the new PSAs, NHTSA is also launching "Parents Central," a new one-stop-shop website with tools and resources for keeping children safe in and around cars.

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."

For more than twenty-five years, the Ad Council and NHTSA have worked together on consumer safety PSA campaigns. Previous campaigns targeted individual stages of child passenger safety, e.g. the LATCH system, booster seats, and seat belts. During the partnership related to child passenger safety between the Ad Council and NHTSA from 2005 through the third quarter of 2011, the joint campaigns received $235,287,700 in donated media.

The English-language PSAs were created pro bono by advertising agency Gotham, Inc. The PSAs will air in advertising time that will be entirely donated by the media and will be distributed to more than 33,000 media outlets in the United States.

"We are proud to partner with Secretary LaHood, Administrator Strickland and NHTSA to extend our more than twenty-five year partnership with NHTSA by releasing new PSAs that address the absolute importance of child car safety," said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. "The team at Gotham created innovative PSAs that remind parents that even if you are confident, 'know for sure' that your child is in the right car seat for their age, height, and weight. By providing parents and caregivers with the critical tools and resources we can ensure their children are properly secured."

"We are thrilled to continue our relationship with the Ad Council and to partner with NHTSA to help communicate such an important message," says Nick Johnson, President of Gotham. "For this effort, we tapped into a very simple insight to produce an integrated campaign that showcases the importance of child passenger safety in a way we think will connect with parents across the country."

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NHTSA Contact:
Troy Green

Ad Council Contact:
Lisa Cullen