Doctor of Philosophy in Experimental Medicine (PhD)
Communicating the Safety Benefit of Booster Seats
My research focuses on understanding injuries in children and youth, and measuring the physical, psychosocial and financial impacts of injuries on children, their families and the health care system. I also investigate the importance of outdoor risky play for children’s healthy development, and how built outdoor environment impacts children’s play.
Children’s independent mobility (IM), their freedom to move about their neighbourhood without supervision by adults, has been in steady decline in recent decades. Previous research has linked perceptions of the environment with various measures of IM, but recently concerns have been raised regarding inconsistency in measuring IM. This study used various measures of IM and aimed to address how parental perceptions of the neighbourhood environment are associated with children’s territorial range – their actual spatial mobility – as well as how this relationship is mediated by IM parenting practices. Territorial range was derived from GPS, accelerometer, and activity diary data and IM parenting practices measured by license for independent mobility (LIM), roaming allowance, and parental boundaries. Path analysis was used to investigate the direct and indirect effects of these relationships. Some parental perceptions of the neighbourhood environment were significantly associated with IM parenting practices (LIM and roaming allowance). IM parenting practices were significantly associated with children’s territorial range. Direct effects of parental perceptions of the neighbourhood environment on children’s territorial range were variable, and only roaming allowance was found to mediate this relationship. Results indicate that IM parenting practices directly affect children’s territorial range to varying degrees. Parental perceptions of the neighbourhood environment have mixed effects on IM parenting practices and children’s territorial range. These findings suggest that future interventions to increase children’s IM should focus primarily on behavior change among parents since they are setting restrictions or allowances for children’s IM.