The Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Award
The Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Awards recognize notable achievements in the field of highway safety during the prior calendar year by individuals, coalitions, organizations, nonprofit groups, businesses, government agencies, universities or programs. About Peter K. O'Rourke
2008 Winner: Safe Kids Buckle Up
Safe Kids Buckle Up, a joint venture between Safe Kids Worldwide and General Motors, is the largest child passenger safety program of its kind, teaching parents and caregivers how to correctly use car seats, booster seats and seat belts. The program also provides car seats to families in need at little or no cost.
In 2007, the Safe Kids Buckle Up program reached a significant milestone: 10 years of inspecting child safety seats for correct installation and educating families about how to be safer in and around vehicles. Throughout the years, Safe Kids has checked more than 900,000 car seats for proper installation.
Safe Kids Buckle Up provides grants to Safe Kids coalitions to deliver programs at the local level and strengthen laws to better protect children in vehicles. These mostly volunteer networks includes nationally certified CPS technicians, transportation safety experts, public officials, police officers, nurses, public health experts, and others: all working together to save children's lives.
The program also offers educational materials and resources at no cost to parents. New brochures focusing on the four steps of child passenger safety, the Children In and Around Cars program, and a car seat safety basics brochure were released in 2007. Safe Kids also created the safety-belt-fit test and growth chart, to help families determine when their child is big enough to fit properly in an adult safety belt. In 2007, all educational materials were updated and translated into Spanish.
In addition to car seat inspections and educational materials and resources, Safe Kids Buckle Up is also an active advocate for improved child passenger safety legislation. Its continuous efforts to upgrade laws and enact booster seat legislation to cover children who do not yet fit properly in an adult seat belt have been an outstanding success. By 2007, 38 states and the District of Columbia had enacted booster seat laws requiring older children to use an appropriate child safety seat, compared to only two in 2001.
In 2007, more children than ever before were secured in car seats and booster seats continued to become more common for older children, thanks largely to the public education initiatives and advocacy work of Safe Kids Buckle Up.
More information about Safe Kids Buckle Up is available online at http://usa.safekids.org, in the Programs section.