NHTSA Leverages Cartoons to Help Children Learn About Car Safety
Karen Aldana September 22, 2011 NHTSA.com
Joint effort includes PSA featuring characters from popular animated series for children, kids’ traffic safety pledge, web-based tools for parents
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and popular animated series Chuggington today announced a new partnership to teach children how to be safe in and around cars. The nationwide traffic safety campaign is geared specifically towards children from the ages of 2 to 7 and includes a public service announcement featuring characters from the show, a kid-focused safety pledge and downloadable tips and activities for parents and caregivers to use with children.
“This exciting partnership with Chuggington will help us bring our traffic safety message to young children and parents alike,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Educating children at an early age about the importance of wearing bicycle helmets, looking both ways when crossing the street and buckling up leads to a lifetime of good traffic safety habits.”
Motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for children, with 1,314 fatalities and 179,000 injuries to those 14 and younger in 2009. In 2007, an estimated 262 fatalities and 115,000 injuries to children 14 and younger occurred from pedestrian incidents involving children playing in or around motor vehicles. The new partnership unveiled today combines NHTSA’s safety guidelines for pedestrians, school buses, bikes and car seat use with Chuggington’s characters to reach parents and children.
“Chuggington’s characters learn important life lessons in every episode of the show and often earn badges as rewards for appropriate behavior,” said Dick Rothkopf, chairman of Ludorum, the creators of the show. “The ‘Think Safe, Ride Safe, Be Safe!’ traffic safety pledge and badge is based on this concept. We hope that children will be excited to learn the rules of the road while they interact with Chuggington’s characters and earn their ‘official’ Chuggington Traffic Safety badges.”
Today’s announcement at Harriet Tubman Elementary School coincides with National Child Passenger Safety Week and comes on the heels of a recent survey by Safe Kids USA showing there’s still room for improvement for parents installing child safety seats. Earlier this year, NHTSA released revised guidelines encouraging parents to keep their children in rear-facing child seats as long as possible up to the height and weight specifications of the seat.
“We already know that child seats save lives and help keep our kids safe, but parents and caregivers need to know how to properly install and use them,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “That’s why, together with our safety partners, we encourage parents to choose the right seat for their child’s size and weight and to have it checked at one of the thousands of free safety seat inspection stations set up across the country for National Seat Check Saturday.”
More than 30,000 child passenger safety technicians nationwide are participating in Child Passenger Safety Week from September 18 to 24. The week-long effort, which culminates in National Seat Check Saturday on September 24, includes both English — and at many locations — Spanish-speaking technicians who are available to answer questions and help install child safety seats. Parents should follow the federal government’s latest guidelines for selecting the appropriate type of child restraint for children through age 12 and should always read the owner’s manual for installation instructions for their child seat and vehicle.