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June 1988

Failure of Hospitals to Promote the Use of Child Restraint Devices

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Preventive Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (Drs Decker and Schaffner), and the Health Promotion Section, Tennessee Department of Health and Environment (Drs Decker and Smith, Mr Bolton, and Ms Dewey), Nashville.

Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(6):656-658. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150060090039

• Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in children. In 1977, Tennessee adopted the nation's first law requiring the use of child restraint devices (CRDs), but despite extensive promotional efforts, a majority of young children still travel unrestrained. We surveyed all acute-care hospitals In Tennessee to determine their policies regarding CRDs. Of 109 hospitals with obstetric services, 28 (26%) had a policy calling for discharged newborns to be transported In CRDs; only seven (5%) of 128 pediatric services had such a policy. It is time for hospitals and professional organizations to adopt policies to ensure that the parents of every child discharged from an obstetric or pediatric unit are educated concerning CRD use laws and are able to comply with them. Pediatricians should consider incorporating "discharge in child restraint device" Into their routine discharge orders.

(AJDC 1988;142:656-658)