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PAS: Racial Variation in Age-Appropriate Restraint Use

Second study shows most drivers of children are distracted; phone calls most common distraction

TUESDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- Many young children are not in age-appropriate passenger restraints, with significant racial variation noted; and the vast majority of drivers with child passengers report distracted driving, according to two studies presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, held from May 4 to 7 in Washington, D.C.

Michelle L. Macy, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined use of age-appropriate child passenger restraints among 542 parents of children aged 1 to 12 years. The researchers found that restraint use varied significantly with race (white, 86 percent; black, 65 percent; other, 70 percent; P < 0.001). In bivariate analyses, parent seat belt use, education, income, child age, autonomous motivation, and amotivational responses were significant predictors of restraint use. In adjusted analyses, race, seat belt use, and autonomous motivation remained significant predictors.

In a second study, using data from a cross-sectional survey completed by 618 parents and caregivers of children aged 1 to 12 years, Macy and colleagues describe distractions of those who drive child passengers. The researchers found that 93 percent of respondents completed all distracted driving items (phone calls, child-care, parent self-grooming, directions, entertainment, and texting). The most common distraction was phone calls, while texting was the least common. Child care distractions and texting were reported significantly more often by drivers of children not restrained in accordance with Michigan law.

"Our research has identified some high-impact areas to improve child passenger safety," Macy said in a statement. "Distracted driving while children are in the car is common, and many children are not using the right safety seat for their size."

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