Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Child restraint use in the U.S.A. is higher than ever, according to a report released today by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and The Association for International Automobile Manufacturers (AIAM). Over an eight-year period, from 1999 to 2007, researchers noted that overall child restraint use increased from 51 per cent to 80 per cent among children younger than nine. During this same period, age appropriate restraint use, including booster seats, among children four to eight years old quadrupled from 15 per cent appropriately restrained in 1999 to 63 per cent in 2007.
These statistics are included in the 2008 Partners for Child Passenger Safety (PCPS) Fact and Trend Report, a snapshot of the milestones reached over a decade of research tracking children involved in real-world motor vehicle crashes. The PCPS Fact and Trend Report assesses data from the world’s largest study of children in automobile crashes based on cases identified from State Farm Insurance Companies from 1998-2007.
“Over the past decade, we have seen booster seat use among four- and five-year-olds increase from 30 per cent to 88 per cent, and among six-, seven- and eight-year-olds, booster use increased from just two per cent in 1999 to 43 per cent in 2007,” said Kristy Arbogast, Ph.D., director of engineering at CHOP’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention, where the long-term study was conducted. “Along with the increase we see in the number of kids riding in child restraints, we can also see changes in the types of restraints they are using now versus ten years ago. More four- and five year-olds are riding in booster seats now, rather than in car seats with built-in harnesses, with slightly more of them in high back booster seats than backless; but among the six- through eight-year-olds, backless booster seats are far more prevalent than high back booster seats.”
Previous research from the PCPS study shows that for four- to eight-year-olds, booster seat use reduces the risk of injury in a crash by 59 per cent. Booster seats elevate children’s small bodies to ensure proper seat belt fit, better protecting them in case of a crash. Further research from the same research project found that six- to eight-year-olds in states with booster seat laws were twice as likely to be in child restraints as children of the same age in states without those laws.
To help parents seeking more information about booster seats, CHOP offers easy-to-follow tips and brief videos on their “Keeping Kids Safe in Crashes” Web site for parents, www.chop.edu/carseat.