car seat belt safety

INTERCEPTinG: INTERventions to Correct Errors and Protect children Through child restraints - Group discussion


When used correctly, child car restraint systems are highly effective in reducing death and injury among children involved in car crashes.1 However, incorrect use of restraints is a widespread and long-standing unsolved problem affecting more than 50% of children travelling in cars.2 Ongoing correct use requires caregivers to correctly install the restraint in every vehicle in which the child travels, and ensure the child is correctly secured within the restraint on every trip. This impacts every child in Australia, who by law must use a dedicated restraint at least until age 7. For children ≥7 years, parents can choose the Australian Standard-certified restraint that best suits their child, such as seat belts or a booster seat.

To date, work has focused on ensuring correct use of child restraints at the time of installation. However, ongoing information is required to ensure children are correctly restrained as they grow, as the type of restraint used changes. These include challenges ensuring comprehensible information is actively delivered to users at the time they most need it, and that modes of delivery incorporate necessary behaviour change techniques. Our previous findings3 indicate involvement of parents in developing communication tools is key to their effectiveness.

We invite you to take part in this research study. This study will explore the skills, knowledge, and motivation that parents require to use child car seats correctly over a long period of time. We know that the potential for a child car seat to be used incorrectly is more likely to increase over time.

1. Du W, Finch CF, Hayen A, Bilston L, Brown J, Hatfield J. Relative benefits of population-level interventions targeting restraint-use in child car passengers. Pediatrics. 2010;125(2):304-12.

2. Brown J, Hatfield J, Du W, Finch CF, Bilston LE. The characteristics of incorrect restraint use among children traveling in cars. Traffic Injury Prevention. 2010 11(4):391-8.

3. Hall AB. A novel user-input and user-testing method for designing child restraint product information to reduce misuse. (Doctoral dissertation, The University of New South Wales). 2018


Through focus group discussions, the current project aims to explore what information parents need to help them use their child car seats correctly over a long period of time, as their child grows. Additionally, we are interested in your thoughts on when children should transition to adult seats and what would support you to make these decisions. The information we collect from this study will help us develop ways to deliver information that is easy to understand, easily accessible, and is provided to parents at the time that parents need it the most.

Research Methodology

If you are eligible to participate in the study, involvement in this study includes:

  • Screening questions to confirm eligibility (no more than 5 minutes)
  • Questions to determine your availability for a focus group discussion (no more than 5 minutes)
  • A participant self-administered questionnaire (approximately 10-15 minutes to complete)
  • Focus group discussion- in person or online (1 hour)

If you agree to participate, we will ask you to complete a set of screening questions to confirm your eligibility in this research. These questions can be accessed through our study link here 

If you are eligible to participate, we will also ask you to complete a short form indicating your availabilities for the focus groups. This form will take no more than 5 minutes to complete and will also ask a few basic questions about you and your family so that we can assign you to a focus group with other similar participants. This data will be kept securely by the research team and will only be used for the purpose of this study.

Before you participate in the study we will also ask you to complete the consent form (a copy is on this page) and a self-administered questionnaire. We will send you a link to the consent form and the participant questionnaire prior to the focus group.

Each focus group will go for approximately 60 minutes with five to nine other caregivers and will include discussions around topics such as

  • your experience with child restraints;
  • what tools and technology would be helpful in making decisions around car seat use; and
  • how you assess whether a child is correctly restrained.

Some of the questions will relate to the transition of your child into different child restraints (i.e. rear facing to forward facing seats, or booster seats to adult seat belts). However, you do not need to have a child who has completed the transitions, as we are interested in what tools you think would help you make these decisions in the future.

The focus groups will be audio and/or video recorded for researchers to review afterwards. In person focus groups will be audio recorded. Online focus groups will be video recorded (through the record function on Zoom/Teams), participants can choose to leave their camera off if they do not wish to be video recorded.

This study contains some risks of discomfort for parents and carers participating. Questions from the standardised tool the ‘parent supervision attributes profile questionnaire’ (PSAPQ) such as “I feel fearful that something might happen to my child” may cause such discomfort. If a participant feels uncomfortable at any time, they can have a break or end their participation.

Are you eligible?

Before you decide to participate in this research study, we need to make sure that it is okay for you to take part. The research study is looking for people who meet the following criteria:

  • Over 18 years of age;
  • Parent, grandparent or primary carer of a child aged 0-9 years of age;
  • Have a current and valid Australian driver licence;
  • Travel at least once a week with their child or grandchild (aged 0-9) in their own car;
  • Speak English well enough to be able to read and understand the information on the Participant Information Statement and Consent Form 

Do I have to take part in this research study?

No, participation in this research study is voluntary. If you do not want to take part, you do not have to. If you decide to take part and later change your mind, you are free to withdraw from the study at any stage.

Costs and reimbursement

Aside from your time to take part in the study, there are no extra costs associated with taking part in this research project. You will receive a $25 Giftpay voucher via email when you have completed the activities required for the study.

Current Status

Data collection in progress

I have questions about the study. Who do I speak to?

Please get in touch with a member of our research team through one of the following ways;

  1. Call a member of our research team on 02 8052 4531
  2. Email
  3. Email the Chief Investigator of the study, Associate Professor Julie Brown:

I am interested in participating. Where can I register?

  1. Click on the link below that will take you to the registration form.
  2. Answer a few questions to confirm you meet the eligibility criteria* for the study.
  3. Leave your contact details and availabilities for the research team to contact you about study participation.

Please refer to the Participant Information Statement and Consent Form on this page.

Register your interest

*Please note that we hope to recruit a broad range of people with difference car seat experiences. If we have reached the maximum number of participants for a particular group and we are unable to include you in the study for this reason, we welcome you to leave your contact details to be contacted for future studies, if you wish to be contacted. You may also exit the window if you do not wish to be contacted further.