All Projects

Why do adults make errors when installing and using car seats?

Improving correct use of child restraint systems

Despite laws in all 50 states requiring child restraint use, many children still are injured in motor vehicle crashes. One possible explanation for this is the large number of child passengers who are riding unrestrained in vehicles, are improperly placed in child restraint systems (CRS), or prematurely graduated to adult vehicle seat belts.

Westat helped the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) address this problem by conducting a study to identify factors that contribute to errors in

  • Selecting and installing a CRS
  • Properly securing a child in a CRS

The research included both novice and experienced parents and caregivers. The study enabled NHTSA to target efforts toward reducing/removing error-prone factors related to installing and using a CRS through improved product literature and educating the public.

  • We developed a sampling plan that included adults who routinely or occasionally install child seats and drive with young children in their vehicles.
  • Our research design identified errors caregivers make when choosing a CRS based on a child’s height, weight, and age; installing the selected CRS in various vehicle types; and securing a child in the CRS. We used scaled, life-like dolls, a series of CRS types, and a variety of motor vehicles to test user’s abilities and judgment.
  • The research design enabled us to evaluate the factors that may contribute to the various types of installation and usage errors. These include child seat and vehicle design, caregiver experience, confidence in installation, use of instructions, and CRS familiarity.
  • The research results provided insight into the causes of errors related to selecting, installing, and using a CRS among both novice and experienced users.
  • This information supports NHTSA’s efforts to work with manufacturers, advocacy organizations, and the traveling public to increase the safety of child passengers in moving vehicles.
  • Read the latest report: Evaluation of Correct Child Restraint System Installation

Want to work with us?
You’ll be in great company.

About Us Careers

Westat Employees.
Westat Employee.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
Baltimore Metropolitan Council
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
DC Public Schools
Georgia Department of Transportation
Internal Revenue Service
Leadership Montgomery
Maryland Cancer Registry
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
National Science Foundation
NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Social Security Administration
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Teach for America
Texas Education Agency
The Johns Hopkins University
The National Institutes of Health
The Verizon Foundation
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Department of Transportation
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
University of Maryland Baltimore Campus
University of Michigan
University System of Maryland
Explore Our Clients

Please wait...

Forbes 2021 The Best Employers for Women Powered by StatistaForbes 2021 The Best Employers for Diversity Powered by StatistaForbes 2021: America's Best Midsize Employer Powered by Statista Forbes 2021 The Best Employers for Veterans Powered by Statista

Westat is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship status, genetic information, gender identity or expression, or any other protected status under applicable law. Notices to Employees & Applicants.