The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has proclaimed October "Booster Seat Safety Month."

The decision, made at a meeting of the association’s board of directors in Amelia Island, Fla., supports child passenger safety. New-car dealers in all 50 states will host child seat safety events at their dealerships during the month of October as part of a national public awareness campaign.

Safety experts have identified proper booster seat use for children ages 4-8 as one of the nation’s most important child passenger safety priorities.

"The majority of America’s 20 million children who should be riding in booster seats are not," NADA Chairman Charley Smith pointed out.

The national awareness campaign, called "Boost for Safety," will kick off at a child seat safety event near Houston, Texas, on September 23. The administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Dr.Jeff Runge, will participate in the event, designed to bring the issue of booster seat usage to the forefront of public attention.

The campaign is part of a partnership between NADA and NHTSA to promote child passenger safety. NHTSA and other transportation safety research shows the vast majority of parents are not aware their older children, aged 4-8 and weighing 40-80 lbs., should be secured in booster seats. Recent surveys show that only 15 percent of booster-aged children are properly belted.

Boosters elevate children to a height that keeps the shoulder belt over their shoulders — where it is designed for safe travel — rather than dangerously around their necks. Boosters also keep the lap belt low across the hips rather than higher on the abdominal area, which is more prone to internal and spinal injuries in an accident. Approximately 17 million booster-aged children are at risk because they are not properly restrained in a booster seat, according to NADA.