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Catherine Ho


Research Assistant

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Catherine graduated from a Bachelor of Health at Macquarie University and has been involved in numerous qualitative research projects and research reports coming out of Dr Julie Brown’s Group at NeuRA. She has previously used a focus group approach to investigate the barriers that motorcyclists face in using motorcycle protective clothing and their needs in terms of safety equipment. She was also involved in conducting and analysing focus group and consumer testing data which aimed to compare the effectiveness of enhanced materials on correct use of child restraints. She is currently working on recruiting participants and data collection for a randomised control trial studying the effectiveness of different information materials on correct use of child restraints. She is also helping to collect data for a observational study aimed at collecting up-to-date population estimates for errors in child restraint use.

Projects Catherine Ho is currently involved with


Child Development & Off-road Riding

Childhood deaths and injuries due to powered off-road vehicles used for recreation and motor sports are steadily increasing in Australia. Unlike the case for registered vehicles used on public roads, there are no legislative controls restricting the minimum age of use of powered off-road vehicles.

There have been repeated calls to restrict the use of these vehicles based on likely physical, cognitive and perceptual limitations of children as they progress through normal development. Some guidelines suggest children should not use these vehicles until a certain age, while others indicate children of different ages should use specific vehicle types. However, there has been no study of physiological, cognitive and perceptual factors and control of these vehicles by children at different stages of development. There is currently no evidence on which guidelines can be based.

This project aims to:

  1. Conducting a functional assessment of the riding task covering physical, sensory and cognitive domains
  2. Collation of existing relevant functional assessment tools and riding performance assessments
  3. Constructing an expert panel in pediatric functional assessment, and an expert panel on off road riding.
  4. Modification of existing assessment tools to match the tasks identified in the task analysis via expert consensus using the Delphi consensus method
  5. Trial of the modified assessment tools for 3 months on a group of 25 riders aged 8-13 to examine validity and reliability of the tools.

For more information, visit: https://www.neura.edu.au/clinical-trial/child-development-and-off-road-riding-a-pilot-study/


Child Development & Off-road Riding

PIONEERS (Protective Innovations of New Equipment for Enhanced Rider Safety)

NeuRA is part of a multi-centre European collaborative project investigating and assessing ways to reduce fatalities and severities of injuries of motorcycles and powered two wheelers (PTWs).

This project aims to develop new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and On-Board Safety Systems, improve validation and assessment methods and increasing the usage rate of such devices. For more information, visit http://pioneers-project.eu/


PIONEERS (Protective Innovations of New Equipment for Enhanced Rider Safety)

Characterisation of restraint misuse among child vehicle occupants in NSW

By law every Australian child <7 years travelling in a motor vehicle must use an age-appropriate child restraint. However, the benefit of using an age appropriate restraint is severely compromised if the restraint is used incorrectly. Children who incorrectly use restraints are at a 3 fold risk of injury in a crash1. In 2008 we conducted a population-referenced observation study and estimated that 53% of children in NSW were incorrectly restrained. There is a need to repeat this observation study to allow more current population estimates.

Our previous research indicated variations in error rates with different restraint designs2 but the specific design features associated with the lowest propensity for incorrect use remains unknown. Furthermore, our recent research3 suggests ergonomic features impacting a child in a restraint are likely to be essential to maintaining correct use through a journey, but this has not been studied. The most important ergonomic features for correct use therefore remain unknown.

The aim of this study is (i) to determine restraint features associated with the lowest propensity for errors and (ii) to obtain up-to-date population estimates of errors in restraint use. We will achieve these aims through an observational analysis of children in cars to examine how restraint design features influence usage errors in a population representative sample.


Characterisation of restraint misuse among child vehicle occupants in NSW

Exploring the effectiveness of product information on child restraint use: A randomised controlled t

By 2030 road traffic injuries will be the fifth leading cause of childhood death worldwide, and the seventh leading cause of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs)1. The use of restraint systems is an effective measure to prevent serious injury and death among children travelling in cars.2 The risk of death and injury to child passengers is reduced by more than half with optimal child restraint use.2-4 Over the last decades, a number of effective interventions for increasing the use of appropriate restraints have been identified5 including mandating the use of appropriate forms of restraints. However, less is known about how to effectively counter incorrect use of restraints, despite this being a long standing and widespread problem. Reducing incorrect use will lead to substantial casualty reductions in high income countries as well as low to middle income countries9.


Information on how to use a child restraint system correctly is routinely communicated on the labels and instruction manuals accompanying the restraint, and this is inevitably the first point of communication for new restraint users. Child restraint system users frequently report using the instructions and labels accompanying the restraint10-12, and many jurisdictions regulate some of the content and format of these materials through product standards. In a recent Australian survey of 400 parents, 90% reported that they had read the instructions supplied with the restraints13, yet high rates of incorrect use continue. A number of studies have also reported a specific higher likelihood of incorrect use among parents who report using available information on how to correctly use restraints12,14. This suggests instructional materials in their current from may not be effective in communicating how to use restraints correctly, as well as potential inadequacies in requirements covering instructional materials in product standards.


This research study aims to look at the factors that help or hinder proper child car seat use. The purpose of the study is to establish whether supplementary product materials increase the correct use of child car seats among purchasers of new child car seats.  For more information, visit: https://www.neura.edu.au/car-seat-study/


Exploring the effectiveness of product information on child restraint use: A randomised controlled trial