How Parents Can Help Injury Researchers

March 14, 2013

Over the past 15 years, through both the Partners for Child Passenger Safety (PCPS) study and the National Child Occupant Special Study (NCOSS), CHOP researchers and our partners have been dedicated to creating a system to collect supplemental crash data specific to children. Although collecting this data for a large population of children is challenging, it’s important to understand the mechanisms by which children are injured to determine how best to protect them in car crashes. Police crash reports provide a glimpse into this data, but digging deeper to understand pre- and post-event details offers a more complete picture of child injury.

As part of the NCOSS project, my CIRP@CHOP colleagues and I recently published a study in Injury Prevention utilizing a survey that asked parents of recently injured children to report on their child’s injuries to specific body regions. An updated version of the validated PCPS survey, the NCOSS parent survey was developed in collaboration with pediatric emergency medicine physicians and features terminology consistent with how clinicians explain injuries to families. When the responses were compared to injury data abstracted from medical records, results showed parents accurately identified whether their child had a moderate or greater severity injury 95 percent of the time and a serious injury 71 percent of the time.

The validation of this survey instrument is an encouraging step forward in pediatric injury research, allowing researchers to ask parents about their child’s injuries and providing an alternative to medical record abstraction methods. In this way, parents can help us to overcome limitations with child-specific crash data to inform future research and interventions. To learn more and request use of this survey instrument and others available from CIRP@CHOP, please click here.