The role of comfort in child restraint use practices
Fong, Cameron K., Bilston, Lynne E., Paul, Gunther, & Brown, Julie (2015) The role of comfort in child restraint use practices. In 13th International Conference Protection of Children in Cars, 3-4 December 2015, Munich, Germany. (Unpublished)
Suboptimal restraint use, particularly the incorrect use of restraints, is a significant and widespread problem among child vehicle occupants, and increases the risk of injury. Previous research has identified comfort as a potential factor influencing suboptimal restraint use.
Both the real comfort experienced by the child and the parent’s perception of the child’s comfort are reported to influence the optimal use of restraints. Problems with real comfort may lead the child to misuse the restraint in their attempt to achieve better comfort whilst parent-perceived discomfort has been reported as a driver for premature graduation and inappropriate restraint choice. However, this work has largely been qualitative. There has been no research that objectively studies either the association between real and parent-perceived comfort, or any association between comfort and suboptimal restraint use. One barrier to such studies is the absence of validated tools for quantifying real comfort in children.
We aimed to develop methods to examine both real and parent-perceived comfort and examine their effects on suboptimal restraint use.
We conducted online parent surveys (n=470) to explore what drives parental perceptions of their child’s comfort in restraint systems (study 1) and used data from field observation studies (n=497) to examine parent-perceived comfort and its relationship with observed restraint use (study 2). We developed methods to measure comfort in children in a laboratory setting (n=14) using video analysis to estimate a Discomfort Avoidance Behaviour (DAB) score, pressure mapping and adapted survey tools to differentiate between comfortable and induced discomfort conditions (study 3). The DAB rate was then used to compare an integrated booster with an add-on booster (study 4) Preliminary analysis of our recent online survey of Australian parents (study 1) indicates that 23% of parents report comfort as a consideration when making a decision to change restraints. Logistic regression modelling of data collected during the field observation study (study 2) revealed that parent-perceived discomfort was not significantly associated with premature graduation.
Contrary to expectation, children of parents who reported that their child was comfortable were almost twice as likely to have been incorrectly restrained (p<0.01, 95% CI 1.24 - 2.77).In the laboratory study (study 3) we found our adapted survey tools did not provide a reliable measurement of real comfort among children. However our DAB score was able to differentiate between comfortable and induced discomfort conditions and correlated well with pressure mapping.
Preliminary results from the laboratory comparison study (study 4) indicate a positive correlation between DAB rate and use errors. In experiments conducted to date, we have seen a significantly higher DAB rate in the integrated booster compared to the add-on booster (p < 0.01). However, this needs to be confirmed in a naturalistic setting and in further experiments that take length of time under observation into account.
Our results suggest that while some parents report concern about their child’s comfort, parent-reported comfort levels were not associated with restraint choice. If comfort is important for optimal restraint use, it is likely to be the real comfort of the child rather than that reported by the parent. The method we have developed for studying real comfort can be used in naturalistic studies involving child occupants to further understand this relationship.
This work will be of interest to vehicle and child restraint manufacturers interested in improving restraint design for young occupants as well as researchers and other stakeholders interested in reducing the incidence of restraint misuse among children.
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|Item Type:||Conference Paper|
|Keywords:||Child seat, Child safety, Child restraint, Child vehicle comfort|
|Subjects:||Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING (090200) > Automotive Safety Engineering (090204)|
|Divisions:||Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
|Copyright Owner:||Copyright 2015 The Author(s)|
|Deposited On:||02 Dec 2015 00:00|
|Last Modified:||06 Dec 2015 08:34|
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