Tween Safety

Make It Click Program Toolkit for Tweens: Activities and posters developed for elementary school children to build knowledge about car safety, promote positive attitude for passenger safety, and encourage booster seat, safety belt, and back seat use.

About the Make it Click Program

The Make it Click Initiative is an empirically-supported program targeting increased safety restraint use and back-seat use among 8- to 12-year-old children (tweens). Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children. Nearly half of the tweens killed in crashes every year were not wearing their seatbelts, and over half of tweens sit in the front seat. Funded by the Virginia Highway Safety Office and created by Dr. Kelli England and her team at Eastern Virginia Medical School, the program’s design includes involvement of teachers, school staff, and after school organizations to implement components in ways that do not infringe upon academic time. Interventions include:

  • competition among classes to achieve a high rate of students buckled in the back;
  • a creativity contest with entries illustrating a car safety theme;
  • a series of parent education flyers;
  • safety-themed assignments that support state standards of learning objectives;
  • safety-themed plays and activities and educational presentations.
 

Program components are further detailed below, and were originally designed to be implemented on a rolling basis (1-2 per month) over the course of a school year. However, the program may be adapted to suit your needs. Results indicate significant improvements in safety behaviors, particularly regarding observed safety belt use. Tweens in the intervention schools were 3 times more likely to wear their safety belts at follow-up than tweens in the control schools.

Components of the Program

Belted in the Back Seat Challenge

This is an exciting competition in which groups compete to achieve the highest rate of children buckled up and sitting in the back seat. Children help promote the program and collect the data. Materials include detailed instructions for the challenge, a flyer, and a datasheet used for safety belt observations.

See Section I in the Toolkit | en Español

Buckie Buckle Play

This is a fun activity that can involve a large group of tweens. The play increases children’s knowledge and use of seatbelts and raises awareness of car safety issues among the audience. The play can be performed during class time or as an after-school event. Materials include a script, a costume checklist, and logistical information for performing the play.

See Section II in the Toolkit | en Español

Creativity Contest

This activity encourages children to develop creative materials illustrating the theme: “How do I stay safe in a car?” Entries can be hung throughout the school to continually reinforce the program’s message. A flyer used to promote the contest and recruit participants is included.

See Section III in the Toolkit | en Español

Classroom Activities

Several homework assignments are provided. Each is packaged with teacher lesson notes and tips for how the assignment can fulfill state standards of learning for various subjects.

See Section IV in the Toolkit | en Español

Social Media Resources

Use of social media is encouraged and can be adapted to meet teachers and/or parents needs to describe the program, notify of upcoming plans, and share accomplishments and results of interventions.

See Section V in the Toolkit

Parent Flyers / Posters

This series of flyers/posters targeting parents was developed based on feedback garnered from tween focus groups. Each of the flyers communicates (quickly) a method or reason for encouraging tweens to sit in the back seat and buckle up. Several of the parent flyers are available depicting White, Black, and Hispanic individuals, and many are available in Spanish language.

See Section VI in the Toolkit

Educational Presentation

This ready-made educational presentation targets adults and can be used to inform school, community, and parent groups about keeping 8-12 year-old children safe in the car.

See Section VII in the Toolkit

Public Service Announcement Script

This 60-second radio script can be used as a public service announcement in the community, or students can rehearse lines and read it over the loud-speaker at school or other events.

See Section VIII in the Toolkit

Effectiveness of the Program

Read about the remarkable effects of the Make-it-Click program, which was evaluated in four elementary schools in an urban school district in southeastern Virginia. This overview summarizes the evaluation study, which found significant increases in safety belt use at intervention schools. Students in intervention schools were 3.3 times more likely to wear their safety belts at follow-up compared to those in control schools, despite no difference among the schools at baseline.

See Section IX in the Toolkit

Assessment Tools

The following assessment tools can be used to evaluate your use of the Make it Click program materials, if desired. They are meant to be administered at the beginning and end of the program. Included are instructions and a data sheet to record observations of tween restraint use, as well as a pre-post survey for tweens.

Tween Posters and Flyers

Research Supporting the Program

The Make-it-Click program has research support for increasing and maintaining restraint use among tweens. Tweens at intervention schools were 3.3 times more likely to be buckled up following the program compared to tweens at the control schools.

 

For additional information about the research supporting the Make It Click program, read the full report: Will, K. E., & Dunaway, K. (2017). Evaluation of a Participative Education Process for Increasing Tween Restraint Use in Virginia: The Make it Click Initiative. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology & Behavior, 45, 54-64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trf.2016.11.013. The Make-it-Click Program was developed and evaluated by Dr. Kelli England‘s research team at Eastern Virginia Medical School and funded by the Virginia Highway Safety Office.