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ERs Need to Do More to Inform Parents on Child Seat Safety

THURSDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- Although the availability of child passenger safety resources varies by practice setting, only one-third to one-half of emergency department physicians recommend replacement of a child's car seat after a motor vehicle collision (MVC), according to research published in the March issue of Pediatric Emergency Care.

Michelle L. Macy, M.D., of the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, and colleagues performed a cross-sectional survey of 1,200 emergency department physicians to determine their awareness of and referral patterns to child passenger safety resources after an MVC.

Overall, 52 percent of respondents worked in an emergency department within a pediatric trauma center, 23 percent in an adult trauma center, and 25 percent in a non-trauma center. One-half of pediatric trauma center physicians would recommend a car seat replacement, compared with only one-third of physicians working in an adult trauma center. The most frequently used car seat programs were run by police or fire departments, while free or reduced-price booster seat programs were the least available.

"Emergency physicians report a high level of uncertainty about the availability of child passenger safety resources in their emergency departments, hospitals, and communities," the authors write. "Child passenger safety resource availability and emergency physician recommendations regarding replacement of a car seat that has been involved in an MVC vary by practice setting. Emergency department discharge instructions following an MVC do not typically include child passenger safety information regardless of practice setting. Pediatric trauma centers may be able to increase the number of children who are benefiting."

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