Interactive Virtual Presence and Child Restraint Installation

Child restraint systems (car seats) reduce injury risk for young children involved in motor vehicle crashes, but parents experience significant difficulty installing child restraints correctly. Installation by certified child passenger safety (CPS) technicians yields more accurate installation, but is impractical for broad distribution. A potential solution is use of interactive virtual presence via smartphone application (app), which permits “hands on” teaching through simultaneous and remote joint exposure to 3-dimensional images. In two studies, the research team examined the efficacy of remote communication via interactive virtual presence to help parents install child restraints. Study 1 was conducted at existing car seat checkpoints and Study 2 at preschools/daycare centers. In both cases, existing installations were assessed by certified CPS technicians using an objective coding scheme. Participants then communicated with remotely-located certified CPS technicians via a smartphone app offering interactive virtual presence. Technicians instructed participants to install child restraints and then the installation was inspected by on-site technicians. Both before and after the remote interaction, participants completed questionnaires concerning perception of child restraints and child restraint installation, self-efficacy to install child restraints, and perceived risk of injury to children if they were in a crash. In both studies, accuracy of child restraint installations improved following the remote interaction between participants and certified CPS technicians. Together, the two samples achieved a weighted average of 90% correct installations across a multi-point inspection. Both samples reported increased self-efficacy to install child restraints and altered perceptions about the accuracy of the child restraint installations in their vehicles. Findings support use of interactive virtual presence as a strategy to realize accurate installation of child restraints.


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $108364
  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Southeastern Transportation Research, Innovation, Development and Education Center (STRIDE)

    University of Florida
    365 Weil Hall
    Gainesville, FL  United States  32611
  • Project Managers:

    Kline, Robin

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Alabama, Birmingham

    1170 Administration Building
    701 20th Street South
    Birmingham, AL  United States  35294
  • Principal Investigators:

    Schwebel, David

  • Start Date: 20160810
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20170420
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01640040
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Southeastern Transportation Research, Innovation, Development and Education Center (STRIDE)
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Jun 29 2017 2:05PM