Pediatric Trauma Society

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Efficacy of Student-Run Campaigns to Increase Safety Belt Use Among Adolescents
Cristen N Litz, Karen Macauley, Paul D Danielson, Nicole M Chandler
Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, St. Petersburg, FL

Background: Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in adolescents. Seat belt use among adolescents continues to lag behind that of older adults. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a campaign program to increase safety belt use among adolescents.
Methods: The Battle of the Belts program is a student-driven initiative designed to increase safety belt use among teenagers. The program was started in 2012 and occurs annually at high schools across five counties in west Florida. It consists of student-led campaigns and post-campaign counts of seat belt use. Campaigns include peer-driven communications, school and public media coverage, student pledges, seat belt enforcement with rewards and poster displays. Seat belt use before and after the campaign was compared. Proportions were compared using Fisher’s exact test and statistical significance was set at p<0.05.
Findings: From March 7-11, 2016, 1300 students were counted upon arrival or departure at each school before and after the campaign. Mean seat belt use increased from 82.4% to 86.2% (p=0.008). From 2012-2016, the mean pre-campaign seat belt use each year was 80.9% and did not increase yearly. The mean post-campaign proportion was 89.6% (Figure 1).
Conclusions: Safety belt use among adolescents is consistently below the national average of 91%. Targeted campaigns successfully increased seat belt use. Community efforts to reduce the incidence of adolescent injury from unbelted motorists has some success but has opportunity for improvement.


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