Seat Belts and Child Restraints: A Road Safety Manual for Decision-makers, and Practitioners

  • Published: World Health Organisation, 2009
  • Authors: World Health Organisation
  • Date Added: 03 Apr 2012
  • Last Update: 14 Feb 2016
  • Format: pdf


To provide advice and examples that will lead to increased use of seat belts and child restraints as safety devices at a national level.


Literature Review, Case Studies and Good Practice Guide.

Key Findings:

  • Seat belts save lives and significantly reduce injury severity for vehicle occupants.

  • Around half of deaths of front seat occupants could be prevented by seat belts.

  • Motor vehicle users make up a high proportion of traffic injuries and deaths in high-income countries, and the proportion is increasing in low- and middle-income countries. It is vital that seatbelt use is increased in these countries.

  • Children should use restraints that are suitable for their height and weight. This reduces deaths of children by between 50% and 75%.

  • Mandatory seat-belt legislation, combined with public education campaigns, is effective at increasing seat belt wearing rates and thus reducing injuries and fatalities.

  • Continuous and fair enforcement of the law is essential for raising rates to a significant level. This requires strong commitment from both governments and enforcement agencies.

  • Together with legislation and enforcement, a well-designed marketing and publicity campaign is essential.

  • Educational programmes, combined with other activities, can help shift behavioural norms towards making seat-belt use more acceptable.

  • Evaluation should be an integral component of any programme. As well as providing information on the effectiveness of a programme, it will help identify if there are any problems in running it.