How do BUFL partners navigate poor attendance to car seat classes?
Unfortunately, some times things come up at the last minute, or participants forget about the BUFL class they were registered for. While this may be unintentional on their part, there are some consequences that come up when participants don’t show up for their class – particularly if you conduct your events all in one day. Here are a few ideas to help participants be sure to come to their class:
- Provide reminders to class registrants via phone calls and text messages. Google Voice is a free service that can be utilized with any Gmail account.
- Provide a program phone number to families and communicate their ability to call and reschedule 24 hours in advance should something come up last minute.
- Collaborate or piggy-back off other established events (i.e. parent classes, family nights, etc.) and have the partner agencies your team works with be accountable for their clients. In this way, partner agencies can manage the marketing, registration, and reminders to the class participants.
- Provide incentives for attendees (food, child care, etc.).
- Set clear expectations of consequences ahead of time should a participant not show up for the event.
- Plan an event where education and distribution are together on one day, so participants only need to adjust their calendar for one day.
- Survey potential participants on what day/time would work best for them to attend classes.
While these aren’t guaranteed to work for every individual, they have certainly helped many BUFL partners with their low attendance numbers. We are always happy to hear new ways to help with this issue though! Do you have something different that has worked for you and your team? Email us and let us know!
How do BUFL partners run their car seat classes?
BUFL partners have had success running their classes in many different ways – it ultimately comes down to what they have found works best for their families and caregivers. Therefore, we suggest all partners have this aim. Typically, BUFL partners will coordinate events one of two ways – but if you find another method that works for your community – please know that you do not have to change to match one of the two methods.
The first method is having the event all in one day. Some BUFL partners will have the class for 1-2 hours in the morning, and then assign caregivers to a car seat technician to distribute the car seat and review proper installation in that caregiver’s vehicle. In this way, the caregivers’ receive the education and resources needed all at the same time, and there is no need for caregivers to come back.
Consequently, other BUFL partners have found that splitting the event over two days is more feasible for the caregivers who cannot commit attendance for a long period of time. In this method, a BUFL partner will provide the 1-2 hour class during a time frame that works best for their families (i.e. morning, afternoon, evening, weekday, or weekend) on one day. Then, a day or two later, the BUFL partner will have a car seat check event where families can come back at pre-scheduled times, retrieve their car seats, and receive proper individual installation instruction.
Instead of a full car seat check event, some BUFL partners have also found success in providing a car seat voucher at the end of the education class for caregivers to call and make an appointment to receive their car seat(s) and installation assistance.
There are certainly factors to consider on both sides as to which method may work best for your community members (i.e. can caregivers participate in a multiple hour event, or do they need an hour or two on different days; do you have space for two days, or is your community partner only able to give you space one day; what is your storage space – do you have the capacity to store seats, etc.), but know that there is no one size fits all solution. It may take a couple classes to figure out what works best for you – but always feel free to reach out to us or other BUFL partners for advice. We’re all happy to help!
How do BUFL partners determine if a participant is in “need”?
The mission of Buckle Up for Life is to provide child passenger safety education and life-saving resources to families everywhere. That being said, when it comes to car seats specifically, our aim is for partners to provide car seats to those at-risk families and caregivers who present some sort of need. There are times when it is a bit more of a challenge to distinguish if a need exists for that caregiver, or if it’s best to provide them with the education needed while they obtain the car seat with their own means.
Should this describe some of the participants in your classes, there are a few things you can do to help determine if there is a need to provide car seats along with education for participants.
- Ask the participants to prove they are on a government assistance program (i.e. Medicaid, Food Stamps, TANF, WIC, etc.)
- Have the participants complete a Low-Income Status Self-Certification Form – for examples, check out the Additional Resources tab in the Partner Portal
- Have community organizations and agencies that your team partners with assist with the identification of participants. Since these organizations have guidelines set-up for whom they provide assistance, then this will help ensure those registered for the classes have a need.
- Using general demographic data collected upon registration, sometimes need can be determined by the community in which the participant resides.
Have other ideas? We’d love to hear them. Feel free to email and share with us.
How do partners plan for children who might attend BUFL classes with their caregiver?
As we all know, it is helpful to have the child present when he/she gets his/her new car seat, as we can show the caregiver the proper way to fit the car seat harness appropriately to that child. However, this question often comes up because it is difficult for children to sit and play quietly while the caregiver participates in the class. Should participant(s) bring their child(ren) with them, to avoid distractions, consider the following options.
- While the adult class is going on, another team member could have the children in a different room to have snacks and perform the activities in the Buckle Up for Life Children’s Curriculum. Should the children present be a little younger, the coloring pages from the Buckle Up for Life activity book could be printed out for the children to color.
- There are many non-profit organizations who provide childcare. These are great organizations to partner with, because they can help watch the children while the adult class is taking place.
- Should there not be any agencies that can offer help with childcare, look into recruiting a couple volunteers who are able to assist with the children. It’s not a bad idea to also have a few toys available to entertain the children.
- There are times when a child may be completely fine with the caregiver, so letting them sit in the class is definitely an option. Should an instance come up when the child acts up, another team member could offer to help out with the child so the caregiver can continue on with the class.
What car seat manufacturer do BUFL partners use to order seats?
Buckle Up for Life has worked with Evenflo since its inception. We do not require our partners to purchase from Evenflo; we have just found that their prices are well-suited for our needs. Our partners are more than welcome to purchase from other manufacturers should they already have a standing relationship and wish to continue purchasing from them. Keep in mind, to be good stewards of the funding, it’s important to compare car seat prices so you can maximize your grant funds.
Should a partner be interested, we do provide an Evenflo order form in our Partner Portal as well. This can be found in the Additional Resources, under the Forms category.
What types of organizations can I partner with as a BUFL partner?
We do not mandate that our partners work with any type of specific organization, as we feel you know what agencies meet your community needs best. That being said, our partners have found success working with various agencies, some of which are listed below:
- Churches or Faith-Based Organizations
- Head Starts and Preschools
- Elementary – High Schools
- Health Education Centers
- Fire Departments
- Police Departments
- County Social Service Agencies
- Community/Recreation Centers
- Health Clinics
- YMCAs & YWCAs
- Pregnancy Care Centers
- Doctor’s Offices
- Youth Service Agencies
- Foster Care Agencies
- Food Banks
- Migrant Welcome Centers
Hopefully this gives an idea on where to start, but please do not feel that you are being limited to these options. There may be other organizations in your community that reach at-risk populations, so those would be good places to start.
What giveaway items can be purchased as a BUFL partner?
Here are some ideas of giveaway items that may be purchased with Buckle Up for Life funds:
- Ice scrapers
- Reusable bags
- Chip Clips
- Slap bracelets
Should there be an interest in other items, please contact Buckle Up for Life Headquarters for approval. In addition, prior to purchasing any giveaway items, please share proofs with Buckle Up for Life Headquarters for approval as well.
Can partners purchase extra materials from BUFL Headquarters?
Yes, we will be developing an online store where these items can be purchased. In the meantime, if you are interested in purchasing additional materials, please email us.