August 18, 2005

Shift of children to back seat results in significant fatality reductions – study

Washington, D.C. – A new study shows that a dramatic shift in behaviour by parents to place children in the back seat of vehicles, coupled with increased use of child safety seats and safety belts, resulted in an 18 percent reduction in overall fatalities among children ages 0-12. Front seat fatalities declined by 46 percent. The study of child fatality trends appears in the upcoming issue of the National Safety Council’s Journal of Safety Research (Volume 36, Number 4).

“This is the clearest evidence we’ve seen that the national public health campaigns begun in 1996 to get children properly restrained in a back seat are working, and paying off,” said Phil Haseltine, Executive Director of the Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign of the National Safety Council. “More children are surviving in motor vehicle crashes because of these efforts.”

The study examined fatality trends between 1992 and 2003 using the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data, police-reported crash data, the NHTSA National Occupant Protection Use Surveys (NOPUS), and earlier NHTSA child fatality studies.

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