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A cross sectional observational study of child restraint use in Queensland following changes in legislation.
As part of an evaluation of the 2010 legislation for child vehicle occupants in Queensland, roadside observations of private passenger vehicles were used to estimate the proportions of children aged under 7 years travelling in each of the five different restraint types (eg. forward-facing child restraint). Data was collected in four major population centres: Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Mackay and Townsville. Almost all children were restrained (95.1%, 95% CI 94.3-95.9%), with only 3.3% (95% CI 2.6-4.0%) clearly unrestrained and 44 (1.6%, 95% CI 1.1-2.1%) for whom restraint status could not be determined (‘unknown’). However, around 24% (95 CI 21.8-26.2%) of the target-aged children were deemed inappropriately restrained, primarily comprised of 3-6 year olds in seatbelts (18.7% of the 0-6 year olds, 95% CI 16.3-21.1%) or unrestrained (3.7% of the 0-6 year olds, 95% CI 2.5-4.9%) instead of booster seats. In addition, compliance appeared significantly lower for some regional locations where the proportion of children observed as completely unrestrained was relatively high and of concern.