Rear-Facing Car Safety Seat Use for Children 18 Months of Age: Prevalence and Determinants

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Abstract

Objective

To examine the prevalence and potential determinants of rear-facing car safety seat use among children approximately 18 months of age born at a university hospital.

Study design

We administered a telephone survey to caregivers of children 17–19 months of age who were born between November 2013 and May 2014. The survey was designed to assess the prevalence of rear-facing car safety seat use and estimate the likelihood of rear-facing car safety seat use, compared with forward-facing car seat use, in reference to hypothesized determinants. aORs and 95% CIs were calculated using multivariable logistic regression.

Results

In total, 56% of potentially eligible caregivers (491/877) completed the survey; 62% of these reported rear-facing car safety seat use. Race, education, rurality, and household income were associated with rear-facing car safety seat use after controlling for potential confounders. Additionally, caregivers who reported having discussed car seats with their child's provider (aOR 1.7; 95% CI 1.1–2.6); receiving their child's primary care in pediatrics compared with family practice clinics (aOR 2.4; 95% CI 1.1–2.6); and being aware of the American Academy of Pediatrics rear-facing recommendation (aOR 2.8; 95% CI 1.8–4.1) were significantly more likely to report rear-facing car safety seat use. Conversely, caregivers who previously used a car seat with another child were less likely to have their child rear facing at 18 months of age (aOR 0.6; 95% CI 0.4–0.9).

Conclusions

A large proportion of children were forward facing at 18 months of age. Future efforts focused on encouraging providers to discuss car seats during patient visits, increasing awareness of the American Academy of Pediatrics' rear-facing recommendation, and targeting high-risk populations may improve the prevalence of children who remain rear facing until 2 years of age.

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