Approximately every three hours, an American child dies due to motor vehicle crashes, according to the CDC. Rural children are at higher risk of dying in an accident. The University of Alabama at Birmingham has partnered with Safe Kids Worldwide to launch a study that explores how to improve these disheartening statistics.

Safe Kids Worldwide offers a network of trained technicians across the country who offer car seat checks to help parents with correct child restraint. However, in rural areas, factors such as a lack of resources and scheduling difficulties often make this impossible. As a recipient of one of 11.

Safe System Innovation Grants from the Road to Zero Coalition (managed by the National Safety Council), UAB will research how to improve child restraint installation in rural parts of the country using technology—to be precise, an interactive virtual presence. “Research has proved that child restraint systems can significantly reduce the risk of serious injury and death to infants and young children when installed correctly,” said David Schwebel, Ph.D., principal investigator and director of the UAB Youth Safety Lab.

The study will focus on 150 parents who live in a rural area, evaluating perceptions, attitudes, and behavior about child safety and restraints. Parents will use their smartphones to communicate with an off-site car seat technician. Then, an on-site technician will check the restraint. The hope is that the study proves this technology is a safe, effective, and accurate option.

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