Skip directly to search Skip directly to site content
Coming October 2016: The next generation of The Community Guide Preview Now
The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide) Go to site home page About the Task Force


Submit your email address to get updates on The Community Guide topics of interest.

Use of Child Safety Seats: Incentive and Education Programs

Incentive and education programs reward parents for correctly using child safety seats or directly reward children for correctly using safety seats. These programs also include education that varies with regard to content, duration and intensity, and methods used.

Summary of Task Force Recommendations and Findings

The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends  interventions that use incentive and education programs based on sufficient evidence of their effectiveness in increasing safety seat use.  

Task Force Finding

Results from the Systematic Review

Four studies qualified for the systematic review.

  • Baseline rates of safety seat use: 26 percentage points (interquartile interval: 11 to 48 percentage points; 4 studies)
  • Observed child safety seat use (assessed between 1 and 4.5 months after programs were conducted): median increase of 9.9 percentage points (interquartile interval: 4.8 to 36 percentage points; 4 studies)
  • Programs were started in day care centers and community-wide among a variety of target populations (children and parents, all socioeconomic groups, urban and rural populations, white and African-American populations) with similarly positive effects.

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.

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: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Use of child safety seats: incentive and education programs. Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.

Review completed: June 1998