About the Vehicle Occupant Safety Program (VOSP) for Child Passenger Safety
In California, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death and hospitalization among children under age 16. With over 24 million vehicles, and over 170,000 thousand miles of roadway, virtually every one of California's 8 million young people are routinely exposed to traffic-related injury, disability and death. Motor vehicle occupant injuries are among the top five causes of both death and hospitalization among children under age 16. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that, controlling for driver seat belt use and the child's seating position, child restraints are 71% effective in reducing fatality among infants and 54% effective among children aged one to four in passenger cars.
Motor vehicle-related injuries are preventable, yet motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death and disability for children. In California, 4,579 children age four years and younger were hospitalized as a result of motor vehicle occupant injuries in 1994. The Vehicle Occupant Safety Program (VOSP), part of the Safe and Active Communities (SAC) Branch of California Department of Public Health (CDPH), strives to prevent injuries and deaths to infants and toddlers in California by increasing the use, and correcting misuse, of child safety seats.
VOSP works closely with local health departments, hospitals, community agencies, child care providers, law enforcement, municipal court systems, and other state and local agencies to develop child passenger safety educational programs that in particular benefit low-income families.
During the past several years, VOSP has successfully developed a statewide child passenger safety infrastructure and network. Via this system, agencies across the state can jointly advocate for stronger policies and legislation; work en masse towards changing organizational practices of hospitals, law enforcement, child care, education, and other institutions; develop stronger local coalitions and networks; receive consistent, accurate, and up-to-date information and impart consistent messages and education; and begin to conduct consistent evaluation which yields valid statewide data. VOSP, in collaboration with numerous partners and the statewide network, provides the structure to create a sustainable child occupant system.
California’s Vehicle Occupant Safety Program (VOSP) aims to prevent unnecessary death and disability to California's children by strengthening and expanding California's child passenger safety infrastructure.