About the Video

The Boost ’em in the Back Seat Video is a six-minute threat appeal video that was developed by researchers at Eastern Virginia Medical School with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Will, Sabo, & Porter, 2009). The six-minute empirically supported video uses a threat-appeal approach (without gore), which represents a unique and innovative methodology in child occupant protection, as most programs are primarily informational in nature and are not designed according to best practices in risk communication.

The video is intended to increase awareness of booster seat use and risks associated with premature graduation of a child to an adult safety belt. The video includes messages of high-threat consequences to motivate action, while informing caregivers of corrective behaviors to promote high efficacy. Research indicates that health risk messages that evoke a high sense of vulnerability to a hazard and promote high efficacy for protecting oneself from the hazard can inspire greater adoption of recommended health behaviors than traditional educational messages that aren’t designed to induce feelings of high fear and high efficacy.

In the video, crash-test footage and computer-generated simulations are used to maximize perception of risk and show the power of crash forces. Crash tests are depicted that compare young child occupants who are:

  • unrestrained
  • restrained in lap and shoulder belts,
  • restrained with the shoulder belt placed under the arm, and
  • properly restrained in a booster seat.

Because high efficacy is a crucial motivating factor when using threat appeals, a good portion of the video is devoted to increasing caregivers’ self-efficacy and response efficacy related to booster seat use. This is achieved by modeling and discussing how easy booster seat installation is, and techniques for getting a child to use a booster seat.