About the Make it Click Program – A Car Safety Program for Tweens

Make it Click Program Description

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 the 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 Will 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.

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.

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.

View the Play Materials

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.

View the Classroom Activities

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.

View the Creativity Contest Materials

Newsletter Sample

Use of teacher newsletters are encouraged and can be distributed periodically to all teachers to describe the program, notify of upcoming plans, and share accomplishments and results of interventions. A sample teacher newsletter is included.

View a Sample Newsletter

Parent Flyers / Posters

This series of flyers/posters targeting parents was developed based on feedback garnered from tween focus groups. Each of the five 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.

View All the Parent Flyers
Airbag (8 x 11)
Compromise (8 x 11)
Compromise (14 x 22)
Hold on to the one you love (8 x 11)
Lead by Example (8 x 11)
Lead by Example (14 x 22)
Tell them to sit in the back (8 x 11)
Tell them to sit in the back (14 x 22)
Which of these kids (8 x 11)
Which of these kids (14 x 22)

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.

View the Presentation

Script for Radio Spot

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.

View the Radio Script

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 2-page 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.

View a Summary of Results

Assessment Tools

The following tools can be used to help tweens understand the importance of proper child restraint and vehicle placement through behavioral observations of drivers and child passengers. There is also a pre-post survey available for use prior to and following activities found throughout this website.

Tween Observation Sheet Protocol

Tween Observation Sheet

Pre-Survey for Tweens

Post-Survey for Tweens



For additional information or materials, please contact Kelli England Will, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Department of Pediatrics, Williams Hall, 855 West Brambleton Avenue, Norfolk, Virginia, 23510-1001; Phone: 757-668-6449; FAX: 757-668-6425; Email: willke@evms.edu or carsafetynow@evms.edu

This program was supported by a series of federal 402 grants (Numbers OP-2008-58238-3175; OP-2009-59178-3481; RS-2010-50117-3737; K2-2011-51295-4237; DE-2015-55171-5910) from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and the Virginia Highway Safety Office. Principal Investigator: Kelli England Will, Ph.D. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, or Virginia Highway Safety Office.