Population considerations

  • Misuse of safety seats. Child safety seat are not always installed or used properly, which increases the risk of injury in the event of a crash (Simpson, 2002).
  • Lack of knowledge. Parents are not always aware that safety seats must be changed as children grow older (Simpson, 2002; Ebel, 2003). According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, children who are under 80 pounds, 4 feet 9 inches or 8 years old should be in a booster seat (NHTSA).
  • Cost of safety devices. Children often grow out of safety seats multiple times before they reach 8 years old.  This can pose a financial strain on families with low-or limited-incomes (Simpson, 2002). Likewise, families whose childcare providers drive children or who have multiple cars may face financial barriers in providing proper safety seats (Ebel, 2003).
  • Negative perception of safety devices.Children may resist using booster seats because of the desire for independence (Ebel, 2003).  They may feel they are “too old” for a “baby” seat.

  Strategies to address these considerations

  • Increase knowledge and awareness. Education and campaign strategies should increase knowledge about the proper use of safety devices for all children under the age of eight.
  • Use familiar settings. Interventions should use familiar and trusted settings such as day care centers, health care facilities, schools, churches and pharmacies.
  • Increase access to affordable safety devices. Work with community partners to increase access to free or low-cost safety devices. One strategy is to develop a “parent’s exchange” where parents can buy gently used seats from each other at affordable prices. 
  • Enhance skills. Teach parents and caregivers how to use safety devices properly and how to encourage their children to use safety devices.
  • Advocate for improved laws.Work with local community groups to advocate for better child safety laws.
  • Involve health care providers. Health care providers can help increase safety device use by offering advice and information.  Questions on safety device use can be built into the individual’s medical history.

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