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Lessons for increasing awareness and use of booster seats in a Latino community
  1. J W Lee1,
  2. K Fitzgerald2,
  3. B E Ebel1
  1. 1Department of Pediatrics and the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
  2. 2Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Seattle, Washington
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Josie W Lee, c/o Madrona Medical Group, 4545 Cordata Parkway, Bellingham, WA 98226, USA;


Objectives: Latino children are more likely to be unrestrained passengers in motor vehicles than non-Latino children, but little is known about the use of booster seats in Latino families. This study investigates Latino parents’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about booster seats, barriers to booster seat use, and effective strategies for message delivery in the Latino community.

Methods: Two focus groups were conducted with Spanish speaking parents. Information was obtained through a written survey and moderated discussions.

Results: Parents were widely misinformed about recommended guidelines for booster seat use, and the majority of participants did not own a booster seat. Parents identified a lack of information, the cost of booster seats, resistance to use by the child or the father, limited space in the vehicle, and unavailability of shoulder belts as barriers to booster seat use. Participants felt that learning more about the new Washington state booster seat law and its consequences would increase booster seat use. Public health messages felt to be effective were those in Spanish, delivered by credible spokespeople such as physicians and teachers, and utilizing the Spanish media.

Conclusions: Campaigns to promote booster seats in the Latino community should be culturally specific, and clear guidelines for booster seat use should be given in Spanish. Legislation may be an important incentive for using booster seats, though reducing their cost and providing strategies to address child resistance and physical constraints of some vehicles are also important.

  • Hispanic Americans
  • focus groups
  • seatbelts
  • booster seats

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