Child passenger safety is an important public health problem in China. This study aimed to examine the prevalence of child passenger restraint use while riding in a car in the city of Shantou in China from 2012 to 2017.
Three large-scale cross-sectional observational studies were conducted in 2012, 2015 and 2017, respectively. The observation sites included randomly selected hospitals, kindergartens, and primary and secondary schools. The outcome measures included the changes in percentages of seating position (e.g., front vs. rear), whether sitting on lap, and use of child restraint systems (CRS) or seat belts by year and by age group. Descriptive statistics, Chi-square tests and logistic regression were used to address the study aims.
A total of 9858 commuting children aged 17 and younger were observed in passenger cars in Shantou, China during the study. The proportion of children aged 0–5 sitting on adult’s lap decreased from 26.6% in 2012 to 24.6% in 2017, while the proportion of CRS use among the children sitting in the rear row increased among children aged 0–5 (from 0.7% in 2012 to 14.2% in 2017) and children aged 6–11 (from 0.7% in 2012 to 2.4% in 2017). Comparing children aged 0–11 in 2012, children in the same ages were less likely to sit in the front row in 2015 (OR = 0.42, 95%CI = 0.37, 0.48) and in 2017 (OR = 0.27, 95%CI = 0.23, 0.31). Children aged 0–11 were more likely to sit in the rear row with CRS use in 2015 (OR = 8.50, 95%CI = 5.44, 13.28) and in 2017 (OR = 10.95, 95%CI = 7.02, 17.08) comparing with children in the same ages in 2012. As for children aged 12–17, they were more likely to use seat belt in 2017 (OR = 1.40, 95%CI = 1.06, 1.85) compared with those children in 2012.