Emergency physician perspectives on child passenger safety: A national survey of attitudes and practices

Michelle L. Macy*, Sarah J. Clark, Comilla Sasson, William J. Meurer, Gary L. Freed

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: To understand attitudes and self-reported practices of pediatric and general emergency physicians regarding child passenger safety. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional mailed national survey of 600 pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) physicians and 600 emergency medicine (EM) physicians who provide clinical care in the United States randomly sampled from the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile. Survey questions explored attitudes related to the role of the physician and the emergency department (ED) in child passenger safety and self-reported frequency of performing specific child passenger safety practices. Results: Responses were received from 638 of 1000 (64%) eligible physicians with a valid mailing address. Surveys were completed by 367 PEM and 271 EM physicians. Regardless of their training background, emergency physicians overwhelmingly agreed that it is their role to educate parents about child passenger safety (95% PEM vs 82% EM) and that they can make a difference in how parents restrain their child (92% PEM vs 93% EM). Physicians were similar in their views that the most appropriate person to provide child passenger safety information in their ED was a nurse/midlevel provider followed by a physician. Self-report of child passenger safety practices in response to 2 hypothetical scenarios showed physicians infrequently provide best-practice safety recommendations to families. Conclusions: Emergency physicians are supportive of the ED as a setting to promote child passenger safety, yet do not consistently promote child passenger safety themselves. Differences between PEM and EM physicians' attitudes toward child passenger safety may necessitate different approaches on injury prevention in general and pediatric EDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-137
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Pediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • child passenger safety
  • emergency department
  • physician
  • survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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