Study Confirms Role of Safety Restraints, such as Car Seats and Seatbelts, in Saving Children’s Lives
A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that 20 percent of children involved in a car crash with a fatality were either not using or not properly using safety restraints, such as car seats or seat belts. Where the person who died in the crash was a child, the study found that 43 percent of the children who died were either not using or not properly using car seats or seat belts.
The purpose of the study was to examine what factors most impact children involved in fatal car accidents. The authors used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System to identify over 18,000 children under the age of 15 who were passengers in collisions that involved a fatality. Of those 18,000 children, 15.9 percent died.
Improper Use of Restraint Systems is the Strongest Predictor of Child Mortality in Car Accidents
The study, which broke down the data by state and region, reported that:
- The percentage of children in a fatal crash who were not appropriately restrained varied from 2 percent in New Hampshire to 38 percent in Mississippi.
- The percentage of children in a fatal crash that occurred on state highways ranged from 11 percent in Iowa to 84 percent in Hawaii.
- Those that took place on a rural road ranged from 17 percent in Massachusetts and Rhode Island to 100 percent in Maine and Vermont.
- Those that took place on roads with a 65-80 mph speed limit varied from 0 percent in Hawaii, Maine, and Rhode Island to 80 percent in Wyoming.
Of all the factors studied, the strongest predictor of child mortality was the improper use or lack of use of restraint systems.
How Did Maine Fare?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that seat belt use among children and adults is higher in states where safety restraint seat belt enforcement laws are more stringent.
The study found that compared to the overall national rate of 20 percent, only 5 percent of children involved in a Maine car crash with a fatality were not restrained or not properly restrained.
What’s the Bottom Line?
The authors of the study urge individual states to implement proven policies that will reduce pediatric deaths in vehicle crashes. The authors believe that reducing the overall national rate of nonuse or misuse of safety restraints from 20 percent to 10 percent would decrease the national pediatric fatality rate from 0.94 per 100,000 to 0.56 per 100,000.
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If your child was seriously injured or killed in a Maine car accident, contact Fales & Fales, P.A. for a free initial consultation. We will help you hold the wrongdoer accountable and recover damages for your loss.