Training and Education

Barriers to the Use of Child Safety Seats in Northwest Indian Communities

Project Investigators: Beth Ebel, MD, MSc, MPH, David Grossman, MD, MPH, Melissa Schiff, MD, MPH Luann D'Ambrosio, MEd

The Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB) was interested in determining the prevalence of appropriate use of child safety seats in the Portland area, including infant car seats, convertible seats and booster seats. To this end, they decided to conduct an observational study in six (6) tribal communities. They were also interested in determining reasons for misuse or non-use among American Indians and Alaskan Natives (AI/AN). HIPRC investigators have conducted numerous observational studies, including those for child safety seats, and were asked to train observers for this study.

Local community trainees from each tribe came to Seattle to learn observational techniques and protocols on December 5, 2002. Fifteen people attended the one-day training. The training was a joint effort of the NPAIHB and HIPRC faculty and staff. Observers were given the tools and knowledge to carry out the observational study. The observations took place outside two local tribal businesses, targeting vehicles with children between the ages of birth to approximately eight years. The data collected will be used to assist tribal communities develop an understanding of how child safety seats are utilized in Indian country. It will also provide information to the NPAIHB on how to implement effective interventions to increase appropriate child safety seat use. These efforts are planned to reduce injuries due to motor vehicle accidents.