What has been the effect of the activities?
For exactly one year since the introduction of the Kids on Board initiative, we have managed to assist more than 600 parents through individual consultations; we have taken part in more than 300 online discussions of parents seeking advice in different peer groups; we have reached more than a million people speaking Bulgarian (locals and foreigners; living in the country and abroad) with our articles and videos; we have discussed in-car child safety's importance on national media on more than 10 occasions. The main result of our efforts is the fact that parents have become more aware of the importance of car seats and their proper installation and usage; we are quoted and referred to in literally every conversation related to child seats in online groups and communities, therefore we are able to step in and provide all the information needed, correct wrong opinions, bust myths, provide additional evidence, suggest solutions, etc.; we are granted trust and respect by parents, media and institutions, therefore we are able to reach more and more parents with our messages. According to feedback from parents and dealers of car seats, more parents tend to change their existing car seats with safer ones, incl. preference for usage of extended rear-facing car seats (as rear-facing is 5 times safer than forward-facing) until 4 or 6-7 years of age of the child. We have risen awareness of parents on the importance of car seat crash-testing results and the fact that not all seats on the market are equally safe. We have attracted the attention of car seat dealers who are now supporting our efforts by providing car seats for demonstrations and training, consulting us on different practical aspects of particular car seats, etc. Even though we are the only organization working specifically and exclusively on in-car child safety, there are a few others making effort in that field. We have identified and partnered up with them in order to ensure good collaboration and complementary activities for a bigger impact (e.g., the State Agency on Road Safety, Safety Driving Academy).
Please briefly explain why your initiative is a good example of improving road safety.
The topic of road safety is generally very complex and often difficult to understand and apply. When it comes to in-car child safety and its recognition by parents, the main problem is the lack of correct information and guidance. Thus, we have created an online platform containing articles and short educational and demonstrational videos to address that issue, raise awareness among parents and other members of our society, and improve knowledge and skills to understand and apply in-car child safety on a daily basis. By providing accessible, verified, complete and well-presented information on in-car child safety in Bulgarian, as well as an opportunity for a free consultation (on choosing, proper installation, and use of child car seats), we are finally giving the Bulgarian parents everything they need to make informed decisions on the in-car safety of their children. The fact that we, who founded the Kids on Board, are two mothers of toddlers helps us a lot to decide on the right channels, messages, and ways to provide this complex information to parents. We are aware of the main issues and concerns of parents, we know how and where they most often seek information, and we know how confusing this information can be. Kids on Board is not just a good local practice. It is unique for the region and even Europe since it is a parent-oriented and parent-driven initiative tailored exclusively to the needs of the target group, and thus â€“ having a great impact even with limited resources. We have a very simple and yet very successful approach that makes a big difference on a daily basis. With the set of services and information we provide, we manage to respond effectively to the needs of parents. By teaching them how to provide maximum safety for their children in the car, we not only build and improve their knowledge, but we also change the attitudes and behaviors of entire families and communities. Therefore, it is safe to say that with minimum investment we achieve a maximum of change.
How have you shared information about your project and its results?