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37 Emphasis framing and child passenger safety recommendations: how you say it matters
  1. Erin Maple1,
  2. Kelli Will1,
  3. Lawrence Decina2
  1. 1Eastern Virginia Medical School, USA
  2. 2TransAnalytics, USA


Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death of children 5–17 years old in the United States. Child restraints, when properly used, are very effective in preventing injury in crashes. Yet, safety advocates continue to struggle with the “hard sell” – keeping children maximally protected in proper restraints for the longest time possible. The purpose of this study was to get parent perceptions of various Methods of framing car seat recommendations. The framing of the message is an important component in how safety messages are read and understood. Various Methods of message framing can alter a parent’s perception of child passenger safety recommendations, changing the clarity or focus of the message itself. Following an experimental comparison study, informal discussion groups were held to collect qualitative data to be used to improve upon the flyers for audience readability, clarity of message, and visual appeal. During the informal discussion groups, parents (N = 32) viewed three versions of recommendations which each all communicated the same CPS recommendations, but were varied in that each employed a different emphasis frame: (1) recommendations organised by the natural progression of seat types; (2) recommendations which focused on avoiding premature graduation; and (3) recommendations which explained the risk-reduction rationale behind the information given. Discussion questions addressed various aspects of the flyer and perceptions of how the message would affect parents’ knowledge of car seat use. Responses from parents show that many are confused about when to transition their child at each stage, the frequent changing of recommendations, and misinformation received. In many cases, parents admitted following the current laws due to the ambiguity of recommendations. During the discussion groups, parents overwhelmingly selected the flyer with the risk-reduction rational, both for content and visual appeal. This presentation will discuss specific recommendations from parents for improved comprehension, readability, and behavioural compliance.

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