Evaluation of community-based programs to increase booster seat use
Authors: Renee M. St. Louis, Julie E. Parow, David W. Eby, C. Raymond Bingham, Heather M. Hockanson, Arlene I. Greenspan.
This manuscript reports the results of an evaluation of two community-based booster seat promotion programs in Michigan; one program focused on a low-income community, while the other focused on a Hispanic community. Each community received funding to develop and implement a booster seat intervention program specific to their community. To determine the effectiveness of each program, direct observation surveys of booster seat use were conducted in each community, as well as in similarly composed comparison communities, before and after program implementation. A process evaluation documented activities and provided additional information for interpreting the results of the direct observation survey. Target age children (4-8 years) were observed traveling in cars, vans/minivans, sport-utility vehicles, and pickup trucks in each community. Baseline booster seat use was 19.0 (plus or minus 5.3%) and 9.7 (plus or minus 2.5%) for the low-income and Hispanic program communities, respectively. Post program results showed no significant change for the low-income program community, and a significant increase within the Hispanic program community. The process evaluation revealed challenges for each program and suggestions to overcome those challenges. Findings from the study can be useful to other communities interested in implementing programs to increase the use of booster seats.