Past Project: Campaign to Promote Booster Seat Usage in Targeted Communities

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 14 in the U.S.

In 2005 alone, 178,000 children were injured as occupants during motor vehicle crashes. Injuries of the head, neck and spine, in addition to abdominal and internal organ damage, are all tragedies that can occur when young children are not in booster seats or are wearing adult seatbelts as the only safety device.

To address the problem in Washington state, Dr. Beth Ebel, director of the Injury Center and center colleagues formed a coalition to implement a campaign targeted at increasing awareness among parents of the need for booster seats, and to reduce motivational and financial barriers to purchasing a seat. Researchers conducted focus groups to measure parent’s beliefs and behaviors toward usage.

The campaign hit the mark. From January 2000 to March 2001, researchers found booster seat usage in target communities doubled from 13 percent to 26 percent. The coalition expanded the message to Latino communities and worked with partner organizations to promote passage of the first state booster seat law in the country.

Go to for more information on booster seats.

Key Investigator: Beth Ebel, M.D., MSc, MPH

Funding Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention