Car Seat Safety: Typologies of Protective Health and Safety Behaviors for Mothers in West Virginia

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Objective—Parenting practices differ for a variety of reasons, and three parenting behaviors may be directly influenced by research, policy, and overall parenting trends: car safety seats, vaccination, and breastfeeding. Mothers were categorized in terms of their rear-facing car safety seat utilization and its relationship to other parental health and safety behaviors. Methods—A cross-sectional, online survey of mothers of children under 3 years of age (n=124) was conducted. Items assessed mother’s perceived risk and worry about being in an automobile accident, as well as duration of rear-facing car seat utilization. A cluster analysis based on these variables was performed to differentiate the sample into four distinct groups. Outcomes were knowledge of car safety seats, breastfeeding duration, and adherence to vaccination schedules. Results—The sample was predominantly White, had an average age of 32 years, had breastfed, and had at least some college education. Two groups of interest had (Group 1) long duration of rear-facing use with low perceived risk and worry and (Group 2) short use with high perceived risk and worry. Fisher’s Exact test indicated Group 1 had higher knowledge of airbag use with car seats (p=0.035), lower intentions to use the recommended vaccinations schedule (p=0.005), and were more likely to breastfeed (p=0.044) for longer duration (p=0.012). Conclusion—Propensity for mothers’ risk aversion may be the crucial element in both an appropriate duration of rear-facing car safety seat use and refusal of recommended vaccination schedule.