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Journal Article

Citation

Smith ML, Berger LR. Inj. Prev. 2002; 8(4): 289-292.

Affiliation

Spokane District Office, Portland Area Indian Health Service, Spokane, Washington, USA.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2002, BMJ Publishing Group)

DOI

unavailable

PMID

12460964

PMCID

PMC1756563

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To identify strengths and weaknesses in community based child passenger safety programs by developing a scoring instrument and conducting observations of child restraint use in three Native American communities. SETTING: The three communities are autonomous Tribal reservations in the Pacific Northwest. Their per capita incomes and rates of unemployment are comparable. METHODS: In each community, 100 children under 5 years old were observed for car seat use. A six item community assessment tool (100 points maximum) awarded points for such items as the type (primary or secondary) and enforcement of child restraint laws; availability of car seats from distribution programs; extent of educational programs; and access to data on vehicle injuries. RESULTS: For children from birth to 4 years, the car seat use rate ranged from 12%-21%. Rates for infants (71%-80%) far exceeded rates for 1-4 year old children (5%-14%). Community scores ranged from 0 to 31.5 points. There was no correlation between scores and observed car seat use. One reason was the total lack of enforcement of restraint laws. CONCLUSIONS: A community assessment tool can highlight weaknesses in child passenger efforts. Linking such a tool with an objective measure of impact can be applied to other injury problems, such as fire safety or domestic violence. The very process of creating and implementing a community assessment can enhance agency collaboration and publicize evidence based "best practices" for injury prevention. Further study is needed to address methodologic issues and to examine crash and medical data in relation to community child passenger safety scores.

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