Motor vehicle crashes have been identified as one of the leading causes of death, injury and disability among young children, less than 5 years, in Qatar. Previous studies on the effectiveness of a child restraint have shown that if child occupants are properly restrained, the fatality risk is reduced by 28% and serious injury by 82%. The objective of this survey is to examine knowledge, attitudes and usage of CRS in a sample of parents with young children in Doha, Qatar. It has been predicted that by the year 2020, RTIs will be the third major cause of disability and hence is an alarming public health problem currently prevailing.
A custom designed survey, containing 25 questions that tested CRS knowledge, attitudes and practice of participants, was applied by trained health communicators in 3 Well Baby Clinics of the Primary Health Care Corporation.
The survey collected information from 602 parents on: method of child transport, use of CRS, knowledge of CRS, and demographic characteristics. The results showed that only 43% used a CRS for their children and only 53% had a car seat. The most common reasons for not using a safety seat included children crying when in CRS (56%) and a preference to hold the child (18.1%). Moreover, nearly all [94%] reported never witnessing enforcement of child passenger laws prohibiting children from riding in the front, concomitantly only 9% stated that a law requiring CRS use would make them use one for their children.
Less than half of young children, in this study population, were benefitting from safety provided by CRS. There is a need to develop awareness programs that educate caregivers on the benefits and proper use of CRS. Other priority areas for intervention include the consistent enforcement of laws banning children in the front seat.
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