Epidemiology of Booster Seat Misuse in Alberta

  • Author / Creator
    Golonka, Richard, P
  • Premature graduation from a booster seat to an adult seat belt places the child at increased risk of injury in the event of a collision, a practice that remains an important public health issue in Canada. Obtaining baseline information that describes the prevalence, nature and determinants of booster seat misuse, as well as the information utilization patterns of parents of booster eligible children is a required first step towards understanding this issue within the Alberta context. Between May 1st and August 31st, 2008 at 67 randomly selected childcare centers in both urban and rural locations, drivers exiting with their children were approached and asked to participate in a parking lot interview and simultaneous in-vehicle restraint inspection. Overall, 31.8% of booster eligible children were improperly restrained. Additionally, 11.4% of booster eligible children were improperly restrained even though they were in the correct seat. While the prevalence of improper seat choice was low as children first became eligible for booster seats (~15%), rates of premature graduation increased to ~50% and higher as the child neared the adult seatbelt transition point boundary of 80lbs. Children at low risk of being seated in the wrong seat included those riding with drivers that were able to successfully recall any child restraint transition point (OR: 0.27; 95%CI: 0.14-0.50; p<0.0001), while children at high risk of being seated in wrong seat included those riding in vehicles with three children (OR: 2.67; 95%CI: 1.2-6.06; p=0.020). Nearly half of all parents of booster eligible children had used a printed resource or a non-physician health professional to obtain information on child restraints, with the non-physician health professional being the most preferred source overall in the survey. By sex, males both utilized and preferred the use of non-health professionals to obtain information while females both utilized and preferred the use of non-physician health professionals. The lowest rates of misuse were seen among drivers who had utilized a physician as an information source, who were also among the most underutilized sources in the survey. Drivers able to use their preferred information source exhibited lower rates of booster seat misuse, regardless of which source was used. Efforts must be made to increase awareness of booster seat transition points, of which, enactment of mandatory booster legislation is crucial. Additionally, avenues for parents to consult directly with non-physician health professionals must remain abundant and accessible as this was the most common pathway for obtaining information. Other less common sources must not however, be overlooked, as nearly all sources exhibited the potential to be correlated with proper use as long as it was also preferred by the parent.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Public Health Sciences
  • Specialization
    • Epidemiology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Don Voaklander, Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Public Health
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Brian Rowe, Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
    • Bonnie Dobbs, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry