The National Latino Children’s Institute (NLCI), whose mission is to focus the nation’s attention on the contributions and unique challenges of young Latinos, announced today the launch of a multi-media campaign to prevent injuries and fatalities among young Latinos due to unrestrained drivers and passengers.

Although automobile accidents are the leading cause of death in the U.S. among Latinos under age 34, there are few programs designed to educate and inform them of the importance of seatbelt use.  The campaign – “Do it for your family, buckle up!” (Hágalo por su familia, abróchese el cinturón!)  helps fill this void and has the potential of saving thousands of lives annually and preventing countless more injuries. 

According to NLCI, language barriers, immigration status, long-held cultural customs and traditions, and other factors among Latinos, especially those who have recently immigrated, pose considerable challenges in reaching them. However, primary research conducted by NLCI for this campaign made it clear that the key cultural insight for motivating Latinos to wear their seatbelts was doing so for the sake of their families.

To prevent injuries and fatalities among Latinos resulting from unrestrained drivers and passengers, NLCI collaborated with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop this new, culturally relevant campaign to reach Latinos.  Also working with locally based Latino organizations, NLCI conducted focus groups in various regions of the country to ensure the diverse Latino population was reflected in the campaign. As a result, NLCI developed a bilingual, bicultural web-based campaign toolkit that is customized for the diverse Latino community. NLCI is making the campaign toolkit available to partner organizations around the nation for use in their local communities to reach Latinos. “The toolkit will help state and local organizations concerned with the public safety of their Latino communities to reach them in a more culturally compelling way. The toolkit and its messages incorporate traditions and values that we know engage the Latino community.  The campaign serves to motivate drivers and passengers to use seatbelts by focusing on the terrible consequences car accidents can have to the family if drivers and passengers are not properly restrained and protected,”  stated Maria Rita Jaramillo, NLCI Board Chair.

NLCI hopes to build and connect a nationwide network of informed leaders and organizations that serve and support young Latinos.  “Seatbelt use is the single most effective and immediate way we can save lives and reduce injuries among young Latinos. This is a winnable battle!” Jaramillo added. “Working with our partners we believe that the use of culturally targeted media, especially digital and social media is key to connecting with the Latino community and changing behaviors and outcomes.”

A recent Pew Research Report indicates that Latinos top everyone in social media activity. According to the survey, 80 percent of Hispanic adults in the U.S. use social media, that’s more than Whites (70 percent) and African Americans (75 percent).  “It is evident, that if we are to engage Latinos, we must reach them through the use of social media,” said Jaramillo. “NLCI’s campaign toolkit provides our partner organizations with the tools they need to do so effectively.”

The seatbelt toolkit can be downloaded free of charge from the NLCI and NHTSA websites at and  Latino-serving organizations, law enforcement and public safety officials, and the general public are urged to help save lives by using and promoting the NLCI seatbelt campaign toolkit.

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