More than one-third of ER physicians say they are uncertain whether their department has safety restraint info for patients, according to new U-M study
Each year, more than 130,000 children younger than 13 are treated in U.S. emergency departments after motor-vehicle crash-related injuries.
Each of these visits offer a chance to pass along tips for proper use of child passenger restraints, but a new study from the University of Michigan indicates emergency departments may not be taking advantage of those opportunities.
In the study published today in Pediatric Emergency Care, more than one-third of ER physicians say they are uncertain whether their departments provide information about child passenger safety resources to their parents, says lead author Michelle L. Macy, M.D., M.S., of the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.
Less than half of the physicians responding in this study said that a parent of a 2-year-old being discharged following a motor-vehicle crash would be provided with discharge instructions including advice about car seats.
"Unfortunately, our research showed that many emergency physicians are not aware of community resources for child passenger safety," says Macy, who is a clinical lecturer in the Department of Emergency Medicine.
"We know the visit to the emergency department is a crucial opportunity to prevent future injuries. Families are frequently discharged following a car crash without referrals to local resources where parents can obtain additional information about child safety seats. This is concerning because child safety seats are complicated, and serious misuses are common," says Macy.
Motor-vehicle collisions remain a leading cause of death among children younger than 4 years and the leading cause of death among older children in the United States, in part because child passengers continue to be unrestrained, and 20 percent of 1- to 3-year-olds and nearly half of 4- to 7-year-olds do not use the recommended restraint for their age.