Ollie Otter Booster Seat Safety Program in Tennessee: Impact of Statewide Implementation

By Liska, Luke Ingalls; Anitsal, M. Meral et al. | Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues, January 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

Ollie Otter Booster Seat Safety Program in Tennessee: Impact of Statewide Implementation


Liska, Luke Ingalls, Anitsal, M. Meral, Anitsal, Ismet, Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues


INTRODUCTION

Booster seats reduce crash injury by 45 percent versus just a safety belt for 4- to 8-year - olds (Arbogast 2009). Yet only 43 percent of US children required to use booster seats (i.e. under 4 ft. 9 in or 9 yrs. old) actually use them (NHTSA 2009). Most programs formed to influence the general population to use booster seats fail to adequately motivate their intended population because they are primarily informational and rely on parents to seek out and attend events to obtain the information (Will et al 2012).

The need for an effective program prompted the development of Ollie's Seatbelt and Booster Seat Safety Program. This new program focused on the aspects of a good marketing ¿campaign and applied those fundamentals toward influencing the next generation of children to understand and apply proper safety concepts such as wearing a booster seat until 4 ft. 9 in tall or 9 years old. Ollie 's Seatbelt and Booster Seat Safety Program focused on targeting the kindergarten and elementary schools where they could guarantee reaching a large number of children in different communities throughout the state of Tennessee. The program also created a mascot, Ollie the Otter, which has been crucial to the brand development and longevity of the program and information presented to children. Ollie has helped to make learning about safety fun and exciting.

During the beginning of the program, in 2007, a statewide average of 88.4 percent of children in crashes were restrained, as reported by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. In 2011, the number of children in crashes that were restrained had risen to 91.5 percent (Tennessee 2012). As stated by the Washington State Booster Seat Coalition (2003), motor-vehicle collisions were the single largest killer of children age 4-8 years because riding unrestrained generated the greatest risk for death and injury among child passengers (Anitsal, Anitsal and Liska 2010a and 2010b). Furthermore, child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers in passenger cars (NHTSA 2013). In fact, before the Ollie Campaign started, "of the children ages 0-14 years who were killed in motor vehicle crashes during 2005, nearly half were unrestrained" (NHTSA 2006).

Ollie 's Seatbelt and Booster Seat Safety Program was designed to target the lack of a comprehensive statewide seatbelt and booster seat education program and to help develop the next generation of drivers into making the correct choice in choosing not only to wear their own seatbelt, but also to encourage others to do the same. Furthermore, Ollie the Otter as a mascot specifically targets the actions of children and their attitude toward the use of seatbelts and booster seats paralleled with the information to correctly apply these safety habits in their everyday lives. "Ollie Otter's Child Booster Seat Safety Program teaches Tennessee school kids child booster seat laws and regulations for car booster seat requirements in nation's first statewide seatbelt and booster seat education campaign" (seatbeltvolunteer.org 2009).

The objective of this paper is to evaluate the preliminary results of Ollie's Seatbelt and Booster Seat Safety Program based on actual data of booster seat and seat belt usage among children involved in crash Specifically, this paper will review Tennessee Traffic Crash Data and Ollie Events to Date for the years 2007-2012 to determine a relationship and/or trends the Ollie 's Seatbelt and Booster Seat Safety Program has had on particular variables associated with and related to seatbelt and booster seat safety.

LITERATURE REVIEW

The use of booster seats has been an important topic of discussion among scholars. In a study to determine the effectiveness of booster seats over seatbelts alone, Elliot et al (2006) noted that there is a 28 percent reduction in the risk of death for children aged two through six years ol. …

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