Availability of Child Passenger Safety Resources to Emergency Physicians Practicing in Emergency Departments Within Pediatric, Adult, and Nontrauma Centers: A National Survey

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Abstract

Objectives

More can be done to eliminate preventable motor vehicle collision (MVC)–related injuries through correct and consistent use of child passenger restraints. This study sought to determine emergency physician awareness of and referral patterns to child passenger safety resources and to compare awareness and referrals by practice setting.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional mailed survey of a national random sample of 1200 emergency physicians drawn from the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile.

Results

Responses were returned by 638 (64%) of 1000 of physicians with a valid mailing address. Fifty-two percent reported working in an emergency department (ED) within a pediatric trauma center, 23% in an adult trauma center, and 25% in a nontrauma center. Police or fire department car seat installation programs were most frequently available (65% pediatric, 56% adult, 48% nontrauma center), and free/reduced-price booster seat programs least frequently available (46% pediatric, 30% adult, 23% nontrauma center) (P < 0.001). Half of pediatric trauma center physicians would always recommend replacement of a 3-year-old’s car seat following a roll-over MVC compared with one third of adult and nontrauma center physicians (P < 0.001). There were no significant differences by practice setting for distribution of discharge instructions containing child passenger safety information or referrals to available resources.

Conclusions

Availability of child passenger safety resources for children discharged from EDs following an MVC varies by practice setting. Pediatric injury prevention outreach to general EDs is needed to increase the number of children who are benefiting from existing community child passenger resources.

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