In the beginning of the 2000s, Northwest Tribes noticed that vehicle accidents leading to injuries and death were impacting their communities. The Northwest Tribal EpiCenter (NWTEC) confirmed this disparity and noticed, finding that American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) were experiencing the highest death rate compared to other groups as a result of vehicle accidents. The NWTEC contacted experts and formed partnerships to investigate if this mortality rate might be connected to the low use of safety seats. Partnerships included the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center (HIPRC). The group explored this data for six Tribes and found that correct safety seat usage was low - between 25 and 55 percent only.

The six Tribes are: Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Klamath Tribes, Nez Perce, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, and Spokane Tribe.

This led to community-based participatory research (CBPR) through the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) in collaboration with the six Tribes, NWTEC, and HIPRC. The Tribes gave the study a name: Native Children Always Ride Safe (Native CARS).

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Read the NIMHD article that inspired and informed this broadcast article HERE