Background: Motor vehicleâ€“related injuries are the leading cause of death among children, adolescents, and young adults.
Purpose: To systematically review evidence of the effectiveness of counseling people of any age in primary care settings about occupant restraints or alcohol-related driving to prevent injuries.
Data Sources: MEDLINE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and Traffic Research Information Service; published systematic evidence reviews; experts; and bibliographies of selected trials.
Study Selection: Randomized, controlled trials (RCTs); controlled clinical trials (CCTs); or comparative observational research studies that evaluated behavioral counseling interventions feasible to conduct in primary care or referral from primary care.
Data Extraction: Investigators abstracted data on study design, setting, patients, interventions, outcomes, and quality-related study details.
Data Synthesis: Trials report that counseling to increase the use of child safety seats leads to increased short-term restraint use (7 CCTs, 6 RCTs). Interventions that included a demonstration of correct use or distribution of a free or reduced-cost child safety seat reported larger effects. Few trials described the effect of counseling children 4 to 8 years of age to use booster seats (1 RCT); counseling older children, adolescents, or adults to use seat belts (1 CCT, 2 RCTs); or counseling unselected primary care patients to reduce alcohol-related driving behaviors (no trials).
Limitations: Most of the relevant trials were published before the widespread enactment of child safety seat legislation and had methodological flaws.
Conclusions: The incremental effect of primary care counseling to increase the correct use of child safety seats in the current regulatory environment is not established. The effectiveness of primary care counseling to reduce alcohol-related driving has not been tested. Studies are needed.