Motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) are a significant safety issue in the United States
With approximately 3 million non-fatal injuries related to MVCs reported in 2019 (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2020). MVCs are the leading cause of death in children under the age of 12, with almost 700 deaths and over 160,000 injuries in this age group reported in 2019 (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 2020). Proper use of car seats can reduce the severity of injuries in the event of an MVC (NHTSA 2020). However, individuals from low-income areas often do not have access to education or car seats compared to those in suburban or higher income areas (Crouch et al. 2008).
A recent study aimed to measure the effectiveness of a car seat program in an urban, Level I Pediatric Trauma Center on caregiver car seat knowledge (Budziszewski et al. 2021). The study involved 200 caregivers who attended a one-hour car seat educational program with a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) (Budziszewski et al. 2021). The sessions included educational and hands-on components, and caregivers were asked to complete a seven-item pre-post knowledge assessment (Budziszewski et al. 2021). Upon completion of the course, caregivers received a car seat for their child (Budziszewski et al. 2021).
The study found that the workshop significantly increased caregiver knowledge, with a paired t-test revealing a significant increase in knowledge from pre- to post-test (t(199) = -12.56, p < .001, d = 1.27) (Budziszewski et al. 2021). The study also found that caregivers increased in all knowledge categories, according to McNemar’s Chi-Square analyses (p < .001) (Budziszewski et al. 2021). These findings suggest that hospital-based car seat courses can increase knowledge of proper car seat usage in low-income communities (Budziszewski et al. 2021).
The implications of the study are clear: car seat safety programs in urban, low-income communities are crucial for the protection of young children in MVCs. The findings can be used to establish car seat safety programs in hospitals in areas where resources may not be readily available to caregivers (Budziszewski et al. 2021). In conclusion, car seat education and access are important factors in reducing the severity of injuries in MVCs and protecting young children.
Read the full paper here.