Safety belt promotion at community swimming pools: effects of policy, rewards, prompts, and education

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Virginia Tech


Data on safety belt use were collected at two swimming pools over three consecutive summers. The impact of several variables upon safety belt use was examined. First, an Intervention Program (IP) was designed, comprised of Promotional, Reward, and Feedback components. Second, an Awareness/Education (AE) strategy was introduced to children enrolled in swim lessons. Third, belt use was examined before and after a mandatory safety belt use law (BUL) was enacted in Virginia. The moderating effects of the BUL were studied by implementing both the IP and the AE interventions during the pre- and post-BUL environments. Finally, some aspects of a behavioral prompt (i.e., a "Personal" vs. an "Impersonal" delivery method), and their relationship to safety belt use were examined. Major findings include, those individuals most influenced by the IP in the pre-BUL environment were those same individuals who were influenced by the BUL.

Thus, while the IF did have an impact upon mean safety belt use levels in the post-BUL context, belt use increases over Baseline were not as dramatic as those observed in the pre-BUL environment.