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Examining child restraint use and barriers to their use: lessons from a pilot study
  1. J C Simpson,
  2. J Wren,
  3. D J Chalmers,
  4. S C R Stephenson
  1. Injury Prevention Research Unit, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to:
 Ms Jean C Simpson
 Injury Prevention Research Unit, University of Otago, PO Box 913, Dunedin, New Zealand;


Objective: To determine the suitability of four research methods to measure the rate of child restraint device (CRD) use and incorrect use in New Zealand and obtain data on barriers to CRD use.

Design and setting: To assess the rates of CRD use among vehicles carrying children 8 years of age and under, two methods were piloted—namely, an unobtrusive observational survey and a short interview and close inspection. A self administered questionnaire and focus group interviews were also piloted to assess CRD use, reasons for use and non-use, and to obtain information on barriers to their use. Respondents to all methods except the focus groups were approached in supermarket car park sites at randomly selected times. Focus groups were established with parents identified through early childhood organisations. All methods were assessed on criteria related to efficiency, representativeness, and ability to obtain the necessary data.

Results: The observational survey provided a simple method for identifying rates of CRD use, while the self administered questionnaire obtained data on demographic characteristics and reported the installation and use/non-use of CRDs. The interview/inspection addressed all the questions of both the above methods and enabled incorrect CRD use to be examined. The focus groups provided the most meaningful information of all methods on barriers to CRD use.

Discussion and conclusion: Advantages and limitations of these methods are discussed and some refinements of the original instruments are proposed. The interview/inspection and focus group methods were identified as being more appropriate for efficiently obtaining reliable data on CRD use and identification of barriers to CRD use.

  • child restraint device
  • CRD, child restraint device
  • LTSA, Land Transport Safety Authority
  • child restraint device
  • CRD, child restraint device
  • LTSA, Land Transport Safety Authority

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