Influences on where Australian parents allow their children to sit in cars

Lennon, Alexia J. (2007) Influences on where Australian parents allow their children to sit in cars. In 3rd International Road Safety Conference, 29 - 30 November 2007, Perth, Australia.


There is growing evidence that children's protection as car passengers can be improved through both appropriate restraint use and through insisting that they travel in the rear seat rather than the front. However many children still travel in the front seats of cars in Australia and New Zealand. Encouraging parents to keep children in the rear seat requires an understanding of why they allow their children to sit in the front seat. As part of a larger study, an intercept interview was conducted with parent-drivers (n = 470) of children (≤12 years). Questions focussed on parents' concerns about children’s safety in cars, family rules about seating position, and the influences on their decisions in relation to where they allow their children to sit. This paper reports preliminary findings from those parents with children aged 4 years or older (n=265). While most parents were concerned about where their children sat, and had a rule that children should travel in the rear seat, over 60% had allowed children to sit in the front seat at some time. The strongest influence on their decisions, affecting 23% of these parents, was lack of space for all children in the rear seat. Around one fifth reported that having older children who were allowed to sit in the front seat or children who fought a lot were also influential on their seating position decisions. These findings suggest that interventions to encourage the practice of children travelling in the rear seat can be addressed through engineering and behavioural avenues. By drawing the attention of manufacturers of child restraints and vehicles to parents’ experiences of using such products it may be possible to encourage design changes that facilitate children remaining in the rear seat to older ages. In terms of behaviour, interventions with parents would do well to capitalise on the existing rules parents use to prevent children from sitting in the front seat as well as providing parents with strategies to address child management issues.

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ID Code: 12732
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Preventive Medicine (111716)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > TRANSPORTATION AND FREIGHT SERVICES (150700) > Road Transportation and Freight Services (150703)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 29 Feb 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:35

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