Research In Action

Research In Action

CPS and well-child visits
Child Passenger Safety During Well-Child Visits
May 30, 2019

As any new parent knows, trips to the pediatrician are frequent in your child’s first year of life. Between regular well-child visits and inevitable sick visits, your child’s pediatrician, as well as nurses, trainees, and office staff, become a familiar and trusted resource.

At a recent well-child visit for my 10-month-old son, we were seen by a medical student before our primary pediatrician joined. After reviewing progress related to developmental milestones and answering our questions about solid foods and walking, the medical student said something I wasn’t expecting: “Now I’d like to talk a little bit about car seat safety. Are you using a car seat currently? If so, what kind of seat?”

As a CIRP employee and past Child Passenger Safety Technician, I was excited that a member of our care team wanted to spend time during a check-up discussing child passenger safety (CPS) and ensuring that we were restraining our son rear-facing, according to best practice recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Unfortunately, there are barriers to pediatricians consulting families on optimal CPS practices, including limited time during visits and a lack of awareness of best practices. A CHOP study published in 2014 revealed that almost 10 percent of pediatrician respondents did not know the recommended age and/or conditions at which a child should be transitioned from a rear-facing child restraint system (CRS) to a forward-facing CRS. Additionally, nearly 40 percent of respondents did not know the age at which children may ride in the front seat (age 13).

Education on CPS for pediatricians is essential. Resources such as CHOP’s Car Seat Safety for Kids and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ are excellent resources for both medical professionals and families to refer to. It only takes a few minutes during a well-child visit to bring up if/how families are utilizing car seats, but those few minutes could very well save a child’s life.