National Child Passenger Safety Board Recognizes 2023 Award Recipients

One technician, two instructors and one team honored at Lifesavers Conference for exemplary work.

April 03, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Victoria Chandler, Clare Pfotenhauer, Claudia Summers and members of the Nebraska Child Passenger Safety Advisory Committee are known by friends and coworkers for their dedication to transportation safety for children.

Today, they also are known as recipients of the National Child Passenger Safety Board’s 2023 Child Passenger Safety Technician, Instructor and Team of the Year awards. The awards, sponsored by Toyota Motor North America, were presented at the Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities in Seattle.

“I’ve heard it said that a leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way,” National Child Passenger Safety Board Chair Jennifer Pelky said. “Well, that sums up this group. We’re thrilled to recognize these individual award winners and all those on the Nebraska Child Passenger Safety Advisory Committee, too. They’re truly difference-makers.”

Technician of the Year: Chandler, a resident of Wichita, Kansas, is the National CPS Technician of the Year. She started down a new path after starting a new position as the injury prevention coordinator with the trauma services team at Ascension Via Christi, a teaching hospital in Wichita. She became a Child Passenger Safety Technician and took over as coordinator of the Safe Kids Wichita Area CPS program. A newbie, she quickly gained experience working alongside her team during car seat check events. She built her reputation as a leader who adjusted during a period when COVID restrictions were in place. More recently, she has expanded Safe Kids Wichita Area efforts into Spanish and Vietnamese neighborhoods.

As a result of a dead heat in the review and scoring of nominees, Pfotenhauer and Summers both received National Instructor of the Year awards at the largest annual gathering of traffic safety professionals in the U.S. Like all good teachers, they have found ways to inspire others and affect outcomes, both in the classroom and their communities.

Instructor of the Year: Pfotenhauer, from Lemont, Illinois, and was recognized for her work as the child passenger safety coordinator for Rush Copley Medical Center, a grant-funded position supported by the Illinois Department of Transportation. She connected with the public in a variety of ways, including the distribution of car seats to low-income families.

Instructor of the Year: Summers, from Waxhaw, North Carolina, led nearly half of the Technician certification training classes in North Carolina last year. She also assisted in the management of the state’s CPS program and promoted a CPS diversion initiative that enabled individuals who violated state child passenger safety laws to receive education from a Technician.

Team of the Year: The Nebraska Child Passenger Safety Advisory Committee – 22 members strong – raised car seat use rate in Nebraska to 95% last year – up from 56% in 1999. The committee accomplished this feat by guiding the state’s CPS programming and ensuring equal CPS training opportunities were provided in counties across the state Today, 86% of children living in poverty under the age of 10 in Nebraska are being served by a Safe Kids CPS program or fitting station.

“The thing each of these award recipients shares in common is a dedication and commitment to service,” Pelky said. “Because of their work, children are riding safer today. They will have an opportunity to grow into tomorrow’s leaders.”

Learn more about the award recipients and nominees.

About the National Child Passenger Safety Board
The National Child Passenger Safety Board’s mission is to save lives and prevent injuries by promoting child passenger safety through education, mentorship, engagement and innovation. The Board’s work is managed by the National Safety Council. For more information about child passenger safety or the National CPS Board, please visit cpsboard.org.

About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate – and has been for more than 100 years. As a mission-based organization, we work to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury, focusing our efforts on the workplace, roadway and impairment. We create a culture of safety to not only keep people safer at work, but also beyond the workplace so they can live their fullest lives.

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