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Increasing Safety in Transportation of Children with Specials Healthcare Needs: A Closer Look at a Pediatric Hospital's Approach to Addressing Gaps

Monday, November 2, 2015

Helen Arbogast, MPH, CPSTI, Division of Pediatric Surgery, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Shelby Bachman, BS, Division of Pediatric Surgery, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Alejandra Arriaga, CPST, Trauma Program, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Rita Burke, PhD, MPH, Division of Pediatric Surgery, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Jeffrey Upperman, MD, Division of Pediatric Surgery, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA


Car seats are vital for reducing the incidence of motor vehicle-related injury and death. Many children with special healthcare needs require specialized transportation resources, which can be costly and difficult to install. The present study aims to characterize the patient population served by a pediatric hospital’s special needs car seat loaner program and community-based special needs inspection station data. These concerted efforts attempt to improve the occupant safety children special healthcare needs.


Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs) certified in special healthcare needs, conducted car seat consultations for patients over a 2-year period. In each consult, a CPST evaluated the patient and provided an appropriate loaner seat, along with education regarding proper installation of the seat. Additionally, car seat inspection station collected data on child restraint selection and installation (uses and misuses) of children with special healthcare needs in the community.


Car seats were distributed to 124 patients throughout the hospital.  The community-based car seat inspection station provided insight on selection, installation and referral processes for children with special healthcare needs. Both strategies provided special needs CPS resources to children and increased safe transportation options for families.


The loaner program served children with temporary and long-term special healthcare needs. The special needs inspection station provided a unique insight to selection, installation and educational resource needs related to transportation. Car seat loaner programs for special needs children offers cost-effective and convenient means of promoting child passenger safety for children with a variety of unique medical needs.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
List and describe the services provided by a hospital-based car seat loaner program and three reasons for implementing such a program. Design and analyze an inspection instrument to capture child restraint use/misuse in special needs populations. List and describe the types of car seats used by children with special healthcare needs and the referral and selection process. Describe three issues to consider when designing and implementing a hospital-based special needs car seat loaner program.

Keyword(s): Children With Special Needs, Transportation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a co-principal for several grants focussing on injury prevention and education. I serve as a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, Special Needs Instructor.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 3100.0: Transportation Safety