NHTSA Urges Parents to “Never Give Up” Until Children Are Buckled

Federal traffic safety officials are urging parents to make sure their children are safely buckled, launching a campaign to ensure there are no exceptions for “tweens” that are between 8 and 14 years old. 

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the new “Never Give Up Until They Buckle Up” safety campaign on March 12, which is the first-ever national tween seatbelt advertising effort.

The campaign will include TV, radio, print and digital ads designed to encourage parents to make sure children are “consistently and properly” wearing a seatbelt during every car ride.

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Safety data reveals children are buckling up less as they get older. Over the past five years, more than 1,500 children between the ages of 8 and 14, died in car, SUV, and van crashes. Of the children who died, half were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. Regardless of seat position, the most at-risk ages are 13 and 14.

Recent NHTSA focus groups concluded seat belt use is often disregarded when families become busy with shuttling kids to and from school and activities, running short errands or when parents become “worn down by the daily grind.”

Officials say this is why the campaign is even more important. Tweens will also often test the limits refusing to wear seat belts, researchers add, because this is how they learn and grow.

“Kids will always test the limits with their parents or caregivers, but there is no room for compromise when it comes to wearing a seat belt,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. “Sounding like a broken record can save your child’s life. Kids need constant reminders and this is one that can’t be skipped.”

The focus group emphasized the importance of having children absorb the message of wearing a seatbelt and that the car will not move until everyone has put theirs on.

Researchers say after the habit has been repeated and ingrained in the children, they will no longer fight it and it will become second nature.

“Buckling up is an important habit to instill in children at a young age. As parents, we need to lead by example and reinforce the message to make sure it sticks,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This campaign urges parents to never give up until their kids buckle up.”

The campaigns will be both in English and Spanish and will focus directly on parents. One radio ad will say: “You’re the driver. The one in control. Stand firm. Just wait. And move only when you hear the click that says they’re buckled in for the drive.”

The campaign was produced in partnership with the Ad Council, created pro bono by McCann Worldgroup, Casanova Pendrill and Mister Face. It will be distributed to 33,000 media outlets and will run in donated air and space.

For more information visit www.safecar.gov/kidsbuckleup.

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