Objectives. We sought to estimate motor vehicle passenger restraint use among Northwest American Indian children 8 years old or younger and to determine factors associated with using proper (i.e., age and weight appropriate) passenger restraint systems. Methods. We surveyed vehicles driven by members of 6 tribes in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Associations between proper restraint and child, driver, and vehicle characteristics were analyzed using logistic regression for clustered data. Results. We observed 775 children traveling in 574 vehicles; 41% were unrestrained. Proper restraint ranged from 63% among infant seat-eligible children to 11% among booster seat-eligible children and was associated with younger child's age (odds ratio (OR) per year=0.60; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.48, 0.75), seating location (OR front vs rear = 0.27; 95% CI = 0.16, 0.44), driver seat belt use (OR = 2.39; 95% CI = 1.51, 3.80), and relationship (OR for nonparent vs parent = 0.28; 95% CI = 0.14, 0.58). More than half of drivers felt children could use an adult seat belt earlier than recommended guidelines, and 63% did not correctly identify whether their tribe had child safety seat laws. Conclusions. Children in these communities are inadequately restrained. Restraint use was exceedingly low among booster-eligible children and children riding with unrestrained adults. Interventions emphasizing appropriate restraint use and enforcement of passenger safety laws could reduce the risk of injury or death in motor vehicle accidents.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health