What Works: Strategies to Increase Car Seat and Booster Seat Use

At a glance

The strategies in this section are effective for increasing car seat and booster seat use. They are recommended by The Guide to Community Preventive Services or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Different strategies may require different resources for implementation or have different levels of impact. This information can help decision makers and community partners see gaps and identify the most effective strategies to encourage parents and caregivers to always buckle up their children.


Strategies to increase car seat and booster seat use

Child restraint laws

Child restraint laws require children riding in vehicles to be buckled up in approved restraints such as car seats, booster seats, or seat belts that are appropriate for their age, weight, and height. These laws are effective for increasing restraint use and for reducing child deaths/injuries. Strengthening current laws with booster seat provisions that require children who have outgrown car seats to use booster seats until at least age 9 helps increase use and reduce crash injuries and deaths.

Short-term, high-visibility enforcement programs

Short-term, high-visibility enforcement programs can enhance the effectiveness of child restraint laws. These programs are often similar to or conducted in conjunction with those used to increase seat belt use. Programs are most effective when advertised widely in the media.

Distribution plus education programs

Car seat/booster seat distribution plus education programs help parents and caregivers obtain new, unused car seats or booster seats and learn how to properly install and use them. These programs often include hands-on demonstrations, which can help increase proper installation and use.

Incentive and education programs

Incentive and education programs reward parents or children with coupons or other prizes for correctly using car seats or booster seats. Programs offer educational print materials and videos for parents and caregivers.

Strategy sources