Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics instituted a major campaign ("The First Ride—A Safe Ride") in order to encourage all parents to use an infant restraint seat for their newborn's first ride in an automobile—the ride home from the hospital. In the present study the effect of the behavior of the hospital staff on parents' use of infant restraint seats was examined. This study involved 30 mother-infant pairs who were selected sequentially from an obstetrics unit and randomly assigned to two groups. A control group was discharged from the obstetrics unit with no particular emphasis on car safety and no loaner restraint seat available. An experimental group was offered a loaner restraint seat at the time of discharge, with a staff person demonstrating how to put the infant into the restraint seat, how to carry the infant in the seat out to the car, and how to fasten the restraint seat in the automobile with the auto lap belt. Correct use of the loaner restraint seat on the first ride home was observed in 67% of the experimental mothers and in none (0%) of the control mothers. Although this difference was no longer significant at four- to six-week follow-up this study points out the short-term impact that hospital staff can have on the parents' use of restraint seats. Additional techniques are needed to maintain parents' use of restraint seats throughout childhood.

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