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User-driven design of child restraint information to reduce errors in use: a pilot randomised controlled trial


Background Incorrect use of child restraints is a long-standing problem that increases the risk of injury in crashes. We used user-centred design to develop prototype child restraint instructional materials. The objective of this study was to evaluate these materials in terms of comprehension and errors in the use of child restraints. The relationship between comprehension and errors in use was also explored.

Methods We used a parallel-group randomised controlled trial in a laboratory setting. The intervention group (n=22) were provided with prototype materials and the control group (n=22) with existing instructional materials for the same restraint. Participants installed the restraint in a vehicle buck, secured an appropriately sized mannequin in the restraint and underwent a comprehension test. Our primary outcome was overall correct use, and our secondary outcomes were (1) comprehension score and (2) percent errors in the installation trial.

Results There was 27% more overall correct use (p=0.042) and a higher mean comprehension score in the intervention group (mean 17, 95% CI 16 to 18) compared with the control group (mean 12, 95% CI 10 to 14, p<0.001). The mean error percentage in the control group was 23% (95% CI 16% to 31%) compared with 14% in the intervention group (95% CI 8% to 20%, p=0.056). For every one point increase in comprehension, there was an almost 2% (95% CI −2.7% to −1.0%) reduction in errors (y=45.5–1.87x, p value for slope <0.001).

Conclusions Consumer-driven design of informational materials can increase the correct use of child restraints. Targeting improved comprehension of informational materials may be an effective mechanism for reducing child restraint misuse.

  • restraints
  • motor vehicle occupant
  • child
  • randomised trial
  • interventions
  • product modification

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