Evaluation of a child passenger safety class in increasing parental knowledge

  • Published: Accident Analysis & Prevention 63, 2014
  • Authors: Valerie M. Muller, Rita V. Burke, Helen Arbogast, Perla C. Ruiz, Nellie M. Nunez, Katherine R. San Mateo, Francesca Cazzulino, Jeffrey S. Upperman
  • Date Added: 07 Dec 2015
  • Last Update: 31 Oct 2016
  • Format: pdf


To evaluate the effectiveness of a car seat class in increasing parental knowledge about child passenger safety.


Child car seat classes were held at a Level 1 pediatric trauma center every other Tuesday for ten months. The curriculum consisted of a child passenger safety laws discussion, a 21-min video on the use of child safety seats followed by a 15-min discussion about the video, 15 min of discussing the different types of car seats, and hands-on training on how to properly install and use child restraints. Free car seats were provided to eligible parents. A pre-test was administered at the beginning of class and a post-test at the end of the class.

Key Findings

  • Child passenger restraint systems greatly reduce the risk of injury and death among child passengers, but nearly half of the children who died in 2009 as a result of motor vehicle crashes were completely unrestrained.

  • Our global hypothesis is that parents and other caregivers failed to restrain children due to a lack of child passenger seat education and practice

  • In this report, we postulate that a car seat class will improve the basic understanding of child passenger safety.

  • Forty-four classes were held, attended by a total of 491 parents and caregivers.

  • An increase in knowledge was found for all survey questions.

  • Mean knowledge score for the post-test was 3.10 points higher compared to the mean knowledge score from the pre-test.

  • Mean difference in knowledge scores for English-speaking participants were higher than Spanish-speaking participants.

  • The results of the current study demonstrate an increase in knowledge post-intervention. Similar hospital-based education and seat distribution interventions also found an increase in knowledge post-intervention.

  • Previous investigators found that an educational video can increase the use and knowledge of child passenger safety seats, however, our results demonstrated a higher difference in mean scores (2.52 point increase) between the pre- and post-tests.

  • Videos in a hospital waiting room area are a passive method of using an educational video. Our video was shown in a class specific for child passenger safety education, during which parents might have paid more attention to the video.

  • Our video was also followed by a discussion about the video’s content, which might have resulted in greater retention and comprehension of the video’s messages.

  • Booster seat use and knowledge also increased significantly post-intervention in this study.

  • Our results are consistent with similar studies, however, we believe that incorporating additional types of interactive and hands-on teaching methods may boost a gain in knowledge among the class participants.

  • This intervention was effective at increasing parental knowledge about child passenger safety.

  • The results of this study may be used to design and implement future interventions in multicultural settings