Open Access Research article

Parents’ experience with child safety restraint in China

Xiaojun Chen12, Jingzhen Yang34, Corinne Peek-Asa35 and Liping Li12*

Author Affiliations

1 The First Affiliated Hospital of Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, China

2 Injury Prevention Research Center, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, China

3 The University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center, Iowa, USA

4 Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Kent State University, Kent, USA

5 Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Iowa, Iowa, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2014, 14:318  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-318

Published: 7 April 2014



Child safety restraints are effective measures in protecting children from an injury while traveling in a car. However, the rate of child restraint use is extremely low in Chinese cities. Parent drivers could play an important role in promoting child safety restraint use, but not all of them take active responsibility.


This study used a qualitative approach and included 14 in-depth interviews among parents with a child, under the age of 6, living in Shantou City (7 child safety restraint users and 7 non-users). Purposive sampling was used to recruit eligible parent drivers who participated in a previous observation study. Interview data were collected from March to April 2013. The audio taped and transcribed data were coded and analyzed to identify key themes.


Four key themes on child safety restraint emerged from the in-depth interviews with parents. These included 1) Having a child safety restraint installed in the rear seat with an adult sitting next to the restrained child is ideal, and child safety restraint is seen as an alternative when adult accompaniment is not available; 2) Having effective parental education strategies could help make a difference in child safety restraint use; 3) Inadequate promotion and parents’ poor safety awareness contribute to the low rate of child safety restraint in China; 4) Mandatory legislation on child safety restraint use could be an effective approach.


Inadequate promotion and low awareness of safe traveling by parents were closely linked to low child safety seat usage under the circumstance of no mandatory legislation. Future intervention efforts need to focus on increasing parents’ safe travel awareness combined with CSS product promotion before the laws are enacted.

Child safety seat; Interview; Qualitative research