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Boost America! Campaign Projected to Reach 35 Million U.S. Schoolchildren & Their Families

DEARBORN, MI -- Ford Motor Company today announced that Boost America!, its $30 million child passenger safety program, has distributed more than 150,000 free booster seats nationwide since the campaign's launch just over two months ago on April 30, 2001. This achievement marks a significant milestone for Boost America! as it moves toward its goal of putting one million booster seats into use by next summer to raise awareness of the importance of using belt-positioning booster seats for children between the ages of four and eight. Ford also announced that feedback reports from teachers indicate that Ford's Boost America! school curriculum will reach 35 million children this year.

Boost America! is holding local events in all 50 states to reach parents, caregivers and children in the communities where they live. Events have already taken place in South Carolina, New York, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

Boost America! is distributing one million free booster seats nationwide through United Way and its funded agencies, participating Ford Motor Company dealerships (including Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Mazda), and various safety partners. United Way agencies are providing 500,000 seats to low-income families across the country, and Ford Motor Company and its dealers are giving away 500,000 seats through vouchers redeemable at Toys "R'' Us to its customers. Vouchers for free and discounted seats are also being distributed by many of Boost America!'s safety partners, such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police, AAA, the Emergency Nurses Association and the National Urban League, to name a few.

Ford also released today results of a teacher feed-back report on its Boost America! school program at a hearing on booster seat education at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The multi-faceted campaign also includes a massive educational component, featuring a video starring superstars Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith and an endorsement from Nickelodeon's "Blues Clues,'' that went out to more than 152,000 elementary and preschools across the nation. Boost America! is projected to reach more than 13.8 million preschoolers and more than 21.6 million elementary school students during 2001, for a total projected reach of more than 35 million students and their families.

Finally, Boost America! continues to push for new state-level booster seat laws to fill in gaps between existing child safety seat and adult safety belt laws. When Boost America! was announced in the Spring 2000, only one state (Washington) had passed a booster seat law. Today, four states have passed booster seat laws and many other states are currently considering passage.

Ford Motor Company Vice President Jason Vines recognized the campaign's achievements thus far, saying, "The dedication and teamwork of the people who have come together to work on Boost America! is more than inspiring. Since this effort began in April, at least 150,000 more kids are now riding safely in their family cars. That's an excellent start. With 45 states to go and much work to do, the success of the campaign thus far serves as the motivation we need to continue.''

Booster seats provide the necessary safety transition for children who have outgrown traditional child safety seats but are not big enough to use adult lap and shoulder safety belts alone. A booster seat raises the child up so that adult lap/shoulder belts fit and protect better -- snugly across the chest, and low over the hips. Booster seats are recommended by highway safety experts for kids four through eight years old -- generally those weighing 40 to 80 pounds. More than 500 children in this age group are killed each year in motor vehicle crashes and thousands more are seriously injured, according to data from NHTSA.

More information about Boost America! is available online at boostamerica.org or toll free at 1-866-BOOST KID.

SOURCE: Boost America!
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