BeSeatSmart Child Passenger Safety Program

The BeSeatSmart Program is a federal grant-based program supported by the Governor's Highway Safety Program, Vermont, and hosted by The Vermont Department of Health. BeSeatSmart provides child passenger safety seats, hands on help, advice, consultations, presentations, training, materials and support to residents of Vermont. BeSeatSmart provides best practice advice as given and sourced by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).[1][2]


Vermont’s child passenger safety program, BeSeatSmart, aims to increase and sustain safety seat and seat belt use for children 0–18. This is done through annual training of new technicians, yearly training of existing technicians, creating and supporting fitting stations, holding open-to-the-public inspections, a telephone hot-line for all things CPS related, a website, hands on help for children with special medical needs, displays at public events and media campaigns, and distribution of low-cost car seats to children in need and at risk.[3]


BeSeatSmart started in 1994 as the KISS (Kids in Safety Seats) program. The program began in partnership with the Vermont Department of Health and Grand Union Supermarkets. This small program, trail-blazed by its originator, J. Michele Laberge, grew into an award-winning,[4] ground-breaking child passenger safety program. Vermont received more than 6,000 free seats from Ford Motor Company, General Motors and Safe Kids Worldwide due to the performance of the program. Since its inception, more than 12,000 seats have been distributed to Vermont families in all 14 counties of Vermont.


Current Vermont Child Passenger Safety Law reads as follows: “23 V.S.A. § 1258... Child Restraint Systems Primary Law

(a) No person shall operate a motor vehicle, other than a type I school bus, in this state upon a public highway unless every occupant under age 18 is properly restrained in a federally approved child passenger restraining system as defined in 49 C.F.R. § 571.213 (1993) or a federally approved safety belt, as follows: (1) all children under the age of one, and all children weighing less than 20 pounds, regardless of age, shall be restrained in a rear-facing position, properly secured in a federally approved child passenger restraining system, which shall not be installed in front of an active air bag; (2) a child weighing more than 20 pounds, and who is one year of age or older and under the age of eight years, shall be restrained in a child passenger restraining system; and (3) a child eight through 18 years of age shall be restrained in a safety belt system or a child passenger restraining system. Exemptions (b) A person shall not be adjudicated in violation of this section if: (1) the motor vehicle is regularly used to transport passengers for hire except a motor vehicle owned or operated by a day care facility; or (2) the motor vehicle was manufactured without safety belts. Fines (c) The penalty for violation of this section shall be as follows: (1) $25.00 for a first violation; (2) $50.00 for a second violation; (3) $100.00 for third and subsequent violations No Surcharges”[5]

Current interpretation of the lawEdit

The current standard interpretation of the child passenger safety law is as follows: 1. Children will remain in a rear facing that is not installed in front of an active airbag until the following two milestones have been passed: • The child is one year of age AND • The child is twenty pounds 2. Children between ages one and eight must be restrained in a child passenger safety restraint 3. Children remain in a restraint until the following two milestones have been passed • The child is 8 years of age AND • The child can pass the 5-step test[6] to get out of a booster[7]

Best practiceEdit

Best practice, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics[1] and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,[8] recommendations as currently followed by BeSeatSmart are as follows:

  1. Rear face children as long as possible, preferably to the upper rear facing weight limit; at LEAST to age two.
  2. Harness forward-facing children as long as possible; at least to age 4 and the limit of their seat.
  3. Use booster seats for kids until they pass the 5 step booster test[9] - somewhere between ages 8 and 12.

4) Use the seat belt for children who have passed the five-step booster test. At least age 8.[7] Children under age 13 should remain in the back seat.

BeSeatSmart programmingEdit

Programing includes but is not limited to, discounted car seat distribution, car seat fitting stations, car seat inspections, special health care needs consultations,[10][11] bus consultations,[12] presentations for parents, caregivers and providers, train the trainer programs for schools and head start programs, displays, NHTSA's Child Passenger Safety Certification Training class,[13] classes for hospitals and nurses and classes on transporting children in ambulances.[14][15][16][17]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Dennis R. Durbin, MD, MSCE and Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention, Policy Statement (March 21, 2011). "Child Passenger Safety". maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ "Car Seat Recommendations for Children" (PDF). NHTSA. March 21, 2011.
  3. ^ Governor's Highway Safety Program - Vermont, 2011 Highway Safety Plan, (FY2011) Available at "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-08-17. Retrieved 2011-12-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Ford Motor Company Grants $35,000 to Vermont to Boost Child Passenger Safety".
  5. ^ "23 V.S.A. § 1258. Child restraint systems; persons under age 18". Department of Motor Vehicles - Vermont. 2004. Archived from the original on 2011-10-07. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
  6. ^ "Boosters Are For Big Kids". Archived from the original on 2012-01-02. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
  7. ^ a b "Safety Belt Safe USA, Boosters are for Big Kids #630,". September 3, 2009.
  8. ^ "Car Seat Recommendations for Children" (PDF). NHTSA. March 21, 2011.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Automotive Safety Program of Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, IN, and funded by NHTSA. Reliable information on special needs restraints, training opportunities, and those CPSTs who have taken the special needs course. : Available at
  11. ^ Ohio Easter Seals/Goodwill Miami Valley, Kids are Riding Safe Program, 2007, Available at "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2011-12-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ Publications, Safe Ride News. "User Log In". Archived from the original on 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
  13. ^ NHTSA and SafeKids USA, National Child Passenger Certification Training Program, Student and Instructor Manuals, April 2007 (R10/10) Available in part at and
  14. ^ Emergency Medical Services for Children Program, The do’s and don’ts of transporting children in an ambulance, Washington, DC: EMSC; 1999
  15. ^ Levick NR, Schelew W, Child patient passenger safety and crash-worthiness in the ambulance transport environment, Pediatric Res 49(2 suppl):78A; 2001.
  16. ^ American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Injury and Poison Prevention and Committee on Fetus and Newborn, Safe transportation of premature and low birth weight infants, Pediatrics 97:758-760; 2000
  17. ^ Bull MJ, Talty J, Weber K, Crash-worthiness of the ambulance environment for infant and child occupant protection. Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, Annual Proceedings 42:420-421; 199

External linksEdit