Internship | Development of Evaluation Study IRB for Children’s Center Car Seat Program

Seeking student to serve as a research assistant on a bicycle safety and helmet fitting evaluation study in the Pediatric Emergency Department. Intervention focuses on bicycle safety, rules of the road, and brain function. Seeking students with an interest in research, health education (specifically injury prevention) or head trauma.

Overview of Problem

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury death and are responsible for about 20% of all pediatric trauma cases. Child safety seats are known to reduce death from these crashes by up to 71%. While car safety seats are readily available in most major retail stores (like Target and Wal-Mart), they are often priced out of reach for many of low-income families. Cost is not the only barrier to full adoption of this effective child safety device. Research has demonstrated low use of child safety restraints among parents of older children (5-8 year olds) and those with limited education, limited literacy, and minority groups, including immigrants. Misuse rates are very high, in Maryland 3 out of every 4 caregivers installs their car seat incorrectly.

Johns Hopkins Child Passenger Safety Program

The Injury Prevention Team provides conventional and special needs car seat consultations to families in the Children’s Center. Trained technicians provide one- on-one review of harness fit w/child and installation of safety device at the vehicle. Consults on average last 45 minutes, and are conducted prior to the patients discharge. Grant funding has enabled the purchase of the necessary supply of child safety seats to assist low-income families of patients who need safety seats (as well as trauma patients whose devices need to be replaced as the result of a motor vehicle collision).

Special Needs Car Seat Services. Children with special needs, such as cerebral palsy, autism, spinal cord problems or orthopedic issues, require adaptive car seats or other special restraints for continued safety as passengers in vehicles. Premature or low birth weight babies may also need special car beds or car seats to accommodate their size. These beds, seats and harnesses can be hard to find and expensive, with some specialty car seats costing almost $1000.

The Injury Prevention team is the front line of coverage for Trauma patients who require a special needs device for safe transport home. The IP team also provides back up coverage for inpatients and other medical services when technician assistance is needed.

Overview of child passenger safety program responsibilities:

  • Provide administrative leadership for the Car Seat Loaner Program
  • Develop hospital wide car seat policies for safe discharge
  • Maintain a supply of car seat for families on medical assistance
  • Maintain car seat technician certification through continuing education and participation at community seat check events
  • Maintain fleet of both conventional and special needs devices
  • Host biannual seat checks at Hopkins

Research Goals

No research has been conducted to assess whether families who received a car seat consultation during their inpatient stay increased overall knowledge on child passenger safety best practices and/or increased confidence and skills in harnessing the child in the safety seat and installing the device correctly in the vehicle. In addition, no follow has been conducted to assess whether these risk reduction behaviors were adopted over an extended period of time (whether families are still using the safety device, and using it correctly). Intern will assist injury team in developing an evaluation tool to assess caregivers knowledge of CPS best practices, and current behaviors regarding child passenger safety. Baseline survey to be administered at time of admission, and follow up surveys post discharge. Intern will also assist with the development of the study protocol (EformA_, and other study materials necessary for submission to the School of Medicine IRB.

Job/Eligibility Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in public health or other health related field preferred or completed at least two years in a degree program at a higher academic institution with GPA above 3.0 •Able to commit 4 hours per week for the full academic year, or two four hour per week shifts for one academic semester •Comfortable interacting with children and families in a high volume clinical environment •Good communication skills, and a positive outgoing attitude •Ability to build rapport and trust with parents/caregivers who may be stressed due to child’s presenting medical concern

Preference will be given to a Junior or Senior student who has experience drafting study materials (including but not limited to: study protocols, scripts, consents, evaluation tools, etc). For questions please contact Lauren Malloy,