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Need Grows For Child Passenger Safety Education

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Child passenger restraint systems (CPRSs) are widely available, but according to results of a new study, caregivers need more education to keep children safe from deaths from motor vehicle accidents. Results of a study, published in the Wisconsin Medical Journal shows that too many caregivers do not make child safety restraints a normal part of their routine.

The findings from the University of Wisconsin engaged caregivers of more than 100 low-income, minority and urban children, providing education about child passenger safety along with a free child passenger restraint system.

A thirty minute training session was conducted with each caregiver. The educational sessions resulted in an initial eight-five percent compliance with child passenger restraints. But over the next nine months, the researchers found a steady decline in use of child passenger restraint systems – compliance dropped to sixty five percent.

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According to the Suzanne Brixey, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics and lead author of the study, “Much more needs to be done to assess effective interventions that improve this population's rates of proper, long-term use of CPRS. Interventions may need to include more support of families and communities as they struggle to move on the continuum of behavior change”.

The researchers found that older children were less likely to be restrained properly. The reasons why caregivers neglect to restrain children is unclear. Motor vehicle accidents remain a leading cause of death among children.

The study shows that child passenger safety education is needed among specific groups. More studies are also needed to better understand why caregivers are not using widely available child passenger restraint systems on a regular basis. Transporting children in different cars and by multiple caregivers may be a contributing factor.

Medical College of Wisconsin