Report numberRA-2004-42
TitlePilot research on determinants of whether or not to buy and use an elevation cushions for children between 4 and 12 years
AuthorsLara Vesentini
Rob Cuyvers
Published byPolicy Research Centre for Traffic Safety 2002-2006
Number of pages62
Document languageDutch
Work packageOther: Behaviour

To reduce the number of (deadly) injured children as passenger in the car, child restraint devices should be used. It is proven that these devices are effective in preventing death and injuries of children. There are different sorts of child restraint devices, depending on the figure, age and weight of the child. Therefore it is important that every child is restrained accordance his figure, age and weight. Research has pointed out that parents often do not use the appropriate device, don’t use it correctly or sometimes do not use it at all. It turns out for example that children are less often restrained when they get older. This pilot study will focus on the older child that is less often restrained and of whom booster seat use is recommended. Parents with children between 4 and 12 years old are asked why they don’t have acquired a booster seat or, if they have, why they don’t use this device (consequently). Also is asked if they use the seat belt, whether or not in combination with the booster seat. A semi-structured questionnaire is used to interview eight parents. A distinction is made between parents who (have) possess(ed) and do no possess a booster seat. The results of the interviews are discussed on the basis of three categories of factors: predisposing factors, enabling factors and reinforcing factors. This study points out that a shortage of booster seats or switching booster seats from one car into another car are reasons for not using booster seats (consequently). It also turns out that the knowledge of parents about booster seat use is unsatisfactory, while probably they presume to use booster seats correctly. For example, lots of parents think that at age 7, children are old enough to use only safety belts for restraint. Some parents also think children at age 2-3 can already use booster seats. It happens as well that the shoulder belt is put under the arm or behind the back of the child, because the shoulder belt is uncomfortable for the child. Furthermore booster seats are not always used on safety grounds. Parents themselves state that they don’t have information on booster seat use and don’t know what is recommended. Finally this study points out that often children at age 7 don’t want to sit on a booster seat anymore. Parents admit that they sometimes comply with the wish of their children, by which booster seat use decreases. Because the results of this study are derived from a small and not representative population, the conclusions and recommendations can not be generalised to the Flemish population. A quantitative research is needed to confirm the results of this study, so recommendations can be made on a Flemish level. The conclusions of this study can be seen as hypotheses for the quantitative research. Besides that, it is important to conduct observations so the use of child restraint devices compared with child age can be determined. If the use of child restraint devices compared with child age can be assessed, the possible ‘profit’, in terms of the number of children that are not (correctly) restrained, can be determined.

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The Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety carries out policy relevant scientific research under the authority of the Flemish Government. The Centre is the result of a

cooperation between Hasselt University, KU Leuven and VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research.


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