Proper use of child passenger safety (CPS) systems is highly effective in reducing injury and fatality in traffic crashes. While use of CPS systems is increasing, use is not universal, and there is a high level of improper use. The Child Passenger Safety Initiative is an innovative program to provide education and training in proper CPS system use to adults with children attending public hospitals and clinics. The initiative will provide education and resources to these adults. A preintervention baseline study with a sample of adults and children at four participating hospitals and clinics has found that (i) the percent of participants who report that they always use a CPS system is only about 80%, (ii) over 30% of children are not appropriately restrained for the age and weight, and (iii) there is a very high level of misuse in terms of improper fastening the child to the CPS system, or in terms of fastening the CPS system to the vehicle seat. Implications for the CPS Initiative intervention include education, training, and resources to (i) encourage universal use of CPS systems for children, (ii) appropriate chose of CPS systems for the child's age and weight, and (iii) proper fastening and securing of the child and the CPS systems itself. It is anticipated that the CPS Initiative will develop models for providing education, training, and resources, which are applicable to the large population of adults who have responsibility for transporting children in motor vehicles.
September 24, 2002