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Study Finds 93 Percent of Oregon Families Misuse Infant Car Seats

Monday, October 13, 2014


Photo credit: iStock

More than 90 percent of Oregon families are misusing infant car seats, a new study has found. 

The OHSU study revealed that 93 percent of families in Oregon made at least one critical error when positioning their infant in a car seat or when installing the seat. 

The study surveyed 267 families at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital. 

Mother-infant pairs in the OHSU Hospital Mother-Baby Unit from November 2013 to May 2014 were randomly selected and enrolled in the survey. 

A certified child-passenger-safety technician observed new mothers and caregivers position their newborn in the car seat and install the seat in the vehicle before leaving the hospital. All misuses were recorded based on car seat and vehicle manufacturer recommendations, according to OHSU. 

OHSU said that prior to departure, technicians helped caregivers correct all mistakes.

"Car-safety seats can be difficult to use correctly for many families, and we need to provide the resources and services they need to help ensure the safest possible travel for newborns and all children,” said Benjamin Hoffman, M.D., the lead author of the study. 

The most common errors in positioning the infant included the harness being to loose or too high, the retainer clip being too low, and the caregiver not knowing how to adjust the harness. 

Families with increased risk for one or more critical errors tended to be of lower socioeconomic status, had less education, were nonwhite, did not speak English, and were unmarried or without a partner, according to OHSU. 

The study also showed that families who had worked with a certified car-seat technician prior to their child's birth were 13 times more likely to position their baby correctly and install the car seat correctly in their vehicle.

"We need to move beyond the idea that we cannot afford to develop and support child-passenger-safety programs,” said Hoffman. "Car crashes kill more kids than any other cause; we can't afford not to.”

Banner Photo Credit: iStock 


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