Press Releases

CONTACT:
Larry Zalin
Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center
(206) 744-9459
zalin@u.washington.edu


DATE: December 23, 2004

Spanish-language web site encourages booster seat usage

¡Abróchese! ¡Es la ley! (Buckle up! It's the law!) is the message on a new web site for Latino families (www.abrochatuvida.org). The site includes information, including access to new booster seat discount coupons, for parents and other family members, children and organizations serving Latino families. The site will help parents choose the proper way to protect their children in cars, depending on a child's height, weight and age.

The importance of buckling up, how car seats and booster seats protect children, and the state's seat belt and car seat laws are all emphasized on the site. Visitors can download a crash test video showing what happens if a child is not properly secured in a crash.

The new web site is part of a Latino outreach program to teach families how to keep their children safe in the car, including using booster seats. The program includes community education, media campaigns, printed materials and coupons. Educators, health-care professionals, churches with Latino congregations, child passenger safety experts, and organizations serving Latino families are participating in this community-wide program.

Research shows the need for such an educational resource in the Latino community. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for all children, and booster seats are effective in reducing injuries in motor vehicle crashes for children aged 4- to 8-years-old. Yet research indicates that Latino families are less likely to use car seats and booster seats to protect young passengers.

Clicking on the site's video link shows what happens in a crash at 30 miles per hour to a child-sized crash test dummy too small to be protected by an adult seat belt. A three-part radionovela tells the story of parents who learn about the state's booster seat law when they're stopped by a police officer. Access to print materials in Spanish is also provided, as well as explanations of what type of safety restraint is appropriate to children as they grow up. The site is now live, but more features will be added in the near future, including Ted E. Bear, an interactive guide for children.

The campaign is sponsored by the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, the Safety Restraint Coalition, and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.