Experiences and Attitudes Regarding Child Passenger Safety Seat Transitions among Parents in Two Michigan Emergency Departments – Funded by the Michigan Center for Advancing Safe Transportation throughout the Lifespan (MCASTL)

Faculty Contact: Michelle L. Macy, MD, MS

Motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) remain the leading cause of death in children after the first year of life. More than 130,000 children age 1-12 present to US Emergency Departments (EDs) each year for injuries sustained as occupants in MVCs. Parents seeking emergency care for their child may be particularly receptive to injury prevention messages. Therefore, EDs have the potential to serve as a high-impact setting for the dissemination of child passenger safety recommendations to parents. However, little is known about the child passenger safety practices among parents presenting to the ED or the informational needs of these parents as they relate to child passenger safety. Understanding the child passenger safety practices and perceptions of parents in the ED will inform the development of education materials for the population utilizing this health care setting.


  1. To determine child passenger restraint use patterns among 1- to 12-year-old children seeking ED care by parent report and through in-vehicle verification.
  2. To characterize parental experiences, knowledge, and attitudes regarding child safety seats and their perceptions of the ED for delivery of child passenger safety information.


  • Study Design: A two site cross-sectional survey of child passenger safety practices among a convenience sample of 652 parents seeking care for their 1-12-year-old child in 2 EDs.
  • Settings: 1) University of Michigan Pediatric ED in Ann Arbor, MI a suburban, tertiary care, academic hospital with Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center verification and 2) Hurley Medical Center ED, in Flint, MI an inner-city community hospital with Level 1 Adult and Level 2 Pediatric Trauma Center verification.
  • Measures: Through a web-based survey on study iPads, parents will provide information regarding their child's passenger restraint use patterns as well as their knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs regarding national child passenger safety recommendations. We will verify child safety seat type in use as parents are discharged home from the ED through direct visualization of the seat in the vehicle.

For more information, please contact:
Michelle L. Macy, MD, MS
Clinical Lecturer
Departments of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics
Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit
University of Michigan
300 North Ingalls Building Room 6C13
Ann Arbor, Michigan