The Manufacturers Alliance for Child Passenger Safety announced that Denise Donaldson, the editor and publisher of Safe Ride News, and Charles Vits, the market development and regulatory affairs manager for IMMI’s line of SafeGuard school bus seats and occupant restraint systems, are among 11 inductees into the 2020 Child Passenger Safety Hall of Fame.
The alliance recognized Donaldson and Vits, both of whom teach the hands-on Child Passenger Safety on School Buses training seminar approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and presented by School Transportation News at the magazine’s national STN EXPO and TSD conferences.
Donaldson and Vits are both recent members of the National Child Passenger Safety Board. Vits, who also served on the Transportation Research Board, retires from IMMI at the end of this calendar year.
“The involvement that I had with pre-K children on school buses was kind of almost accidental,” Vits recalled in a video published by IMMI on Tuesday. He added that he was focused on lap/shoulder seatbelts at the time, but the development of the company’s Star integrated child seat tasked Vits expanding the product and the SafeGuard brand throughout the school bus industry.
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Meanwhile, Donaldson also oversees the publication of “The School Bus Safety Handbook” and training videos that show the proper installation and adjustment of child safety restraint systems. Safe Ride News also hosts a school bus listserv and publishes the “LATCH Manual” on using lower anchors and tethers for child restraints.
Hall of Fame inductees are selected by a committee, which bases its decisions each year on the criteria of significant contributions made to the field of child passenger safety, leadership in helping to “open new frontiers” for others, and how much they inspire those in the industry.
The first Hall of Fame class of 2017 included Charley Kennington, a former state director of student transportation for the Texas Department of Public Safety, and Cheryl Wolf, a special needs pupil transportation expert from Indiana. Both also were instructors of the eight-hour NHTSA Child Passenger Safety on School Buses training, with Wolf serving as a tenured faculty member and Kennington on the national board of advisors for the TSD Conference.