Correct Use of Car Seat Lowers Injury Risk among Infants, Study


Incorrect use of car seats increase infant's risk of injury in a crash, according to an Oregon Health and Science University hospital study. The risk increased when parents wrongly positioned their infants in a car safety seat or incorrectly installed the safety seat in their vehicles.

"Car safety seats can be difficult to use correctly for many families, and we need to provide the resources and services they need to help ensure the safest possible travel for newborns and all children," said Benjamin Hoffman, lead author of the study and professor of pediatrics in the OHSU School of Medicine, in a statement

For the study, the researchers followed 267 families at Oregon Health and Science University Hospital from November 2013 to May 2014. Infants born less than 37 weeks of gestation period who remained in the neonatal intensive care unit for over four hours were excluded from the study.

The most common errors in positioning the infants found were harness too loose (69 percent), retainer clip too low (34 percent), harness too high (18 percent) and caregiver not knowing how to adjust the harness (15 percent).

The most common installation errors were loose installation of car safety seat (43 percent); angle of car safety seat incorrect (36 percent); safety belt not locked (23 percent) and incorrect spacing between car safety seat and vehicle front seat (17 percent).

The researchers said that those who were more likely to commit errors, belonged to lower socioeconomic status, and were less educated, non-white, non-english speakers, and were unmarried or without a partner.

Families who approached a certified car seat technician prior to their child's birth were 13 times more likely to position their baby and car seat correctly in their vehicle.

"We need to move beyond the idea that we cannot afford to develop and support child passenger safety programs," said Hoffman. "Car crashes kill more kids that any other cause; we can't afford not to."

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