Child passenger safety education in the emergency department: Teen driving, car seats, booster seats, and more

Academic Article


  • Background: The leading cause of death in children less than 19 years old is motor vehicle crashes (MVC). Non-use or improper use of motor vehicle car seats significantly adds to the morbidity and mortality. Emergency department (ED) encounters provide an opportunity for caregiver education. Our objective was to determine the effect of an educational intervention on knowledge and counseling behaviors of pediatric ED nurses regarding child passenger safety (CPS). Methods: A pre/post educational intervention study was conducted with nursing staff in an urban ED. Responses to CPS related knowledge and counseling behaviors were collected using surveys administered before and after the intervention. The ED nurse education intervention was a one-hour lecture based on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) CPS guidelines and Alabama state law regarding ages for each car seat type and teen driving risky behaviors. Individual data from pre and post surveys were matched, and nominal variables in pre-post matched pairs were analyzed using McNemar's test. To compare categorical variables within pre or post test data, we used the Chi-square test. Results: Pretests were administered to 83/110 ED nurses; 64 nurses received the educational intervention and posttest. On the pretests, nurses reported "never"or "occasionally"counseling about CPS for the following: 56% car seats, 62% booster seat, 56% teen driving, 32% seat belts. When comparing the pretest CPS knowledge between nurses working 0-1 year vs. ≥ 2 years there was no statistically significant difference. Two CPS knowledge questions did not show significance due to a high correct baseline knowledge rate (> 98%), including baseline knowledge of MVC being the leading cause of death. Of the remaining 7 knowledge questions, 5 questions showed statistically significant improvement in knowledge: age when children can sit in front seat, state GDL law details, seat belt state law for back seat riders, age for booster seat, and rear facing car seat age. All four counseling behavior questions showed increases in intent to counsel families; however, only intent to counsel regarding teen driving reached statistical significance. Conclusions: Educational efforts improved pediatric ED nursing knowledge regarding CPS. Intent to counsel was also improved following the education.
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    Author List

  • Smola C; Sorrentino A; Shah N; Nichols M; Monroe K
  • Volume

  • 7