June 6, 2006

Crash data confirms survival advantage of child safety and booster seats

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – A new U.S. study has found that children using child restraints were 28 per cent less likely to be killed in a crash than children wearing seatbelts alone. Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia studied results for nearly 9,000 children aged two through six involved in serious motor vehicle crashes.

After eliminating gross misuse of a child restraint, such as not being attached to the vehicle seat or the child was not wearing the harness, the overall reduction of risk declined to 21 per cent.

“For every 100 children who were killed in a crash wearing only a seatbelt, 28 of them would have survived if they’d been in a car seat or booster seat,” says study author Dennis Durbin, M.D., M.S.C.E. “These findings build on many years of real-world and laboratory research, which has consistently found child restraints to be very effective at preventing injuries.”

Previous studies by the Children’s Hospital showed that for children under eight, those who were appropriately restrained for their age and size could reduce their risk of serious injury in a crash to less than one per cent. The new study is the first to examine fatal crashes. “Our research to date has focused primarily on preventing serious injury, because we felt this is where we could have the greatest effect,” says Dr. Durbin. “Now we can assure parents that, while rear seating and seatbelts are better than no restraint at all, child restraints are significantly more effective at preventing both injuries and death for children less than seven years old.”

The hospital’s research has also confirmed that rear seating is the safest position for children younger than 13 years of age. The hospital provides a multimedia Web site to address questions about appropriate restraint and correct installation of child restraint systems, using videos, instructions and quick tips; for more information, visit www.chop.edu/carseat.

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