Statement of purpose The goal of the Ride Safe Pilot Program is to reduce motor vehicle crash (MVC) injuries among American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) children by promoting child safety seat use. Initially developed in 2003, the Ride Safe Pilot Program was revised and implemented in collaboration with tribal partners and the Phoenix Area Indian Health Service Division of Environmental Health.
Methods/Approach The Ride Safe Program utilizes a community-based approach coupled with the following to achieve its goal: 1.) Distribution of a child passenger safety (CPS) curriculum tailored for AI/AN communities; 2.) Provision of child safety seats; and 3.) Completion of evaluation activities.
Results The program was implemented in six tribal communities in Arizona, California, and Nevada. A total of 657 car seats were acquired and 75% were distributed.
Conclusions The pilot project is a promising community-based compliment to evidence-based CPS activities aimed at addressing MVC. At the start of the initiative, a majority of the participating programs had below 50% CPS usage rates; unfortunately due to COVID-19, the sites were not able to collect post observational data. A positive outcome is the development of the COVID-19 CPS protocol to assist in the next cycle of the pilot program.
Significance In 2017, MVCs were the leading cause of death for AI/AN ages 5–24, with the youngest family members disproportionately affected. These losses are even more tragic because the majority of MVC injuries and deaths are preventable through the proper use of a child safety seat or seatbelt. Ride Safe can be easily replicated in any community to reduce MVC-related injuries among children. This serves as a testimony to the power of simple, well-informed, community-based models intended to reduce MVC injuries among children.
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