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Use of Child Safety Seats: Education Programs When Used Alone

Child safety seat education programs provide information about the use of child safety seats and relevant skills to parents, children, or professional groups.

Summary of Task Force Recommendations and Findings

The The Community Preventive Services Task Force finds insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of education programs alone in improving knowledge about or use of child safety seats on the basis of the (1) small number of available studies, and (2) variability in the interventions evaluated.

Task Force Finding

Results from the Systematic Review

Six studies qualified for the review.

  • Three programs targeting parents and one aimed at children did not lead to a significant increase in correct safety seat use.
  • Two programs involving professional groups worked with different types of groups (e.g., healthcare providers and law enforcement officers) and used different outcome measures, so firm conclusions could not be drawn.

These results are based on a systematic review of all available studies led by scientists from the Community Guide and CDC's Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention with input from a team of specialists in systematic review methods and experts in research, practice and policy related to increasing child safety seat use.

Economic Evidence

An economic review of this intervention was not conducted because the Task Force did not have enough information to determine if the intervention works.

Supporting Materials


Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Motor-vehicle occupant injury: strategies for increasing use of child safety seats, increasing use of safety belts, and reducing alcohol-impaired driving. MMWR. Recommendations and Reports 2001;50(RR07):1-13. External Web Site Icon

Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Recommendations to reduce injuries to motor vehicle occupants: increasing child safety seat use, increasing safety belt use, and reducing alcohol-impaired driving. Adobe PDF File [PDF - 78 kB] Am J Prev Med 2001;21(4S):16–22.

Zaza S, Sleet DA, Thompson RS, et al. Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to increase use of child safety seats. Adobe PDF File [PDF - 2.44 MB] Am J Prev Med 2001;21(4S): 31-47.

Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Motor vehicle occupant injuries. Adobe PDF File [PDF - 355 kB] In : Zaza S, Briss PA, Harris KW, eds. The Guide to Community Preventive Services: What Works to Promote Health? Atlanta (GA): Oxford University Press;2005:329-84.

Read other Community Guide publications about Motor Vehicle-Related Injury Prevention in our library.


The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and do not necessarily represent those of CDC. Task Force evidence-based recommendations are not mandates for compliance or spending. Instead, they provide information and options for decision makers and stakeholders to consider when determining which programs, services, and policies best meet the needs, preferences, available resources, and constraints of their constituents.

Sample Citation

The content of publications of the Guide to Community Preventive Services is in the public domain. Citation as to source, however, is appreciated. Sample citation: uide to Community Preventive Services. Use of child safety seats: education programs when used alone. Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.

Review completed: June 1998