PA 16-5-1933 User-centred instructions reduce misuse of child restraint systems: results from a controlled laboratory trial

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Abstract

Evidence-based solutions are needed for the widespread and longstanding problem of child restraint (CRS) misuse. Following results from previous work that found product information supplied with CRS substantially impacts the way a restraint is used, an intervention targeting product information as a mechanism to increase correct use was developed. This user-centred intervention was developed using best practice instructional design, consumer feedback and iterative consumer testing.

To determine whether user-centred instructions are more effective than current product instructions at promoting correct use of CRS in the laboratory, a controlled laboratory study was conducted with 36 experienced and naive CRS users (over 18 years and reimbursed AUD$25 for travel). Participants installed a convertible CRS in the forward-facing mode. Correct use was assessed through observed installation of the CRS and securing of a mannequin in the restraint using a 20-item pro-forma. One-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to compare differences between groups on overall correct use and percentage correct use.

No participant in the control group used the CRS without error however 100 per cent correct use was achieved by 28% of participants in the intervention group (between groups difference in correct use, Welch’s F, p<0.001.) The intervention group (M=89.08, SE=2.93) achieved on average 11.7% higher percent correct than the controls (M=77.38, SE=3.72, p=0.048). Importantly a reduction in the severity of errors was also observed in the intervention group compared to errors in the control group.

By using a novel performance-based user-testing method, CRS product information can be designed to increase the correct use of CRS. This method may provide a template for designing future product information to be supplied for child restraints going forward as well as other safety products.

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