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

Macy, Michelle L. MD, MS*†; Clark, Sarah J. MPH; Cunningham, Rebecca M. MD*‡; Freed, Gary L. MD, MPH

doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e3182851038
Original Articles

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.

From the *Department of Emergency Medicine and †Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit, Division of General Pediatrics, University of Michigan; and ‡The University of Michigan Injury Center, Ann Arbor, MI.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Michelle L. Macy, MD, MS, CHEAR Unit, University of Michigan, 300 NIB Room 6C13, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5456 (e-mail:

This research was funded by a grant from the Michigan Center for Advancing Safe Transportation throughout the Lifespan.

Results from this study were presented in a poster session at the 2012 Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.