Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

Refugee parents unfamiliar with using child safety seats

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 13, 2012

Many refugees are apparently getting through cultural orientations sessions at refugee resettlement agencies without learning or retaining knowledge about using child safety seats. The Safe Kids Coalition in Salt Lake city is stepping in to get the resettlement agencies to teach refugee parents about the issue. An article at KSL Broadcasting in Salt Lake City explains the problem and efforts made to address it:

MIDVALE — As program manager of Salt Lake County’s Safe Kids Coalition, May Romo takes to the streets to teach parents about the importance of using child safety seats…

Romo’s underlying motivation was to teach parents about proper use of child safety booster seats. And a study, published this week in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, offers troubling insight into the use of boosters and safety seats...

The new study, conducted by University of Michigan researchers Dr. Michelle Macy and Dr. Gary L. Freed, found that few children remain rear facing after age 1 and less than 2 percent use a booster seat after age 7.

The researchers examined restraint use of more than 21,000 children under age 13.

“Within each age group, minority children demonstrated lower proportions of age-appropriate restraint use compared with white children,” Macy and Freed wrote.

But even among white children up to age 3, just 17 percent were using rear-facing safety seats as recommended. Experts recommend that children ride in rear facing seats until they weigh 35 pounds. 

While all parents need to learn this information, the researchers wrote that programs are needed “to address the motivations of parents from various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, and for drivers who do not use seat belts themselves.”

Janet Brooks, child advocacy manager at Primary Children’s Medical Center, said community partners have ongoing educational efforts to teach ethnic minority parents about state laws and best practices. Many come from countries that do not have these laws and they are unfamiliar with the importance of child safety restraints, she said.

May Romo, program manager for Safe Kids in Salt Lake County, measures Jenny Bouttier,6, at a Safety Fair in Midvale on Thursday, August 9, 2012. Children who are at least age 4, 40 lbs., and 4’9″ should be in a booster seat.

Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News

“Cost is an issue for some of our immigrant families who are just trying to put food on the table and find a place to live,” Brooks said… Read more here

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