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Car seats, Child passenger safety, African American mothers, Latina mothers.



  1. Medoff-Cooper, Barbara PhD, RN, FAAN
  2. Tulman, Lorraine DNSc, RN, FAAN


Purpose: This study built on prior research and examined the beliefs, behaviors, barriers and motivating factors for use of child car seats with children aged 3 to 7 years.


Study Design and Methods: Two focus groups of eight mothers each were conducted using a structured interview guide. One group consisted of African American and Latina women, the other of White women.


Results: All of the mothers believed that properly restraining their children while riding in a car protected the children from injury. Most also reported that they have used car seats for their children. African American and Latina mothers, however, reported more inconsistent use of the seats, particularly with older children of this age group. They were also more likely to report greater resistance by their children to use car seats.


Clinical Implications: In this small study, there were ethnic disparities in differences in use of child car seats for children aged 3 to 7; this subject requires more research. In the meantime, public health programs on child car seats are needed and should take into account differing beliefs and behaviors of various cultural groups.