Lives Saved Through Child Restraints 82 to 87

  • Published: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1988
  • Authors: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Date Added: 09 Apr 2012
  • Last Update: 23 Jul 2013
  • Format: pdf

Objectives:

To measure the level of child restraint use, the effectiveness of child restraints in reducing fatality risk compared with children using seat belts and unrestrained children.

Methodology:

An analysis of fatal car accidents in the USA between 1982 and 1987 involving cars equipped in which the use of restraints or not by the driver and child passengers was reported. Fatality odds ratios were calculated using a matched pairs technique.

Key Findings:

Between 1982 and 1987

  • Child safety seats reduced the risk of death among infants (under 1 year old) by 69%.

  • Child safety seats reduced the risk of death among toddlers (1 – 4 year olds) by 47%.

  • Using an adult seat belt reduced the risk of death by 36% for toddlers.

  • Child safety seats saved an estimated 838 children’s lives, and if all children had been using child safety seats over that period a further 2,349 children’s lives could have been saved.

  • Children in child safety seats were 50% less likely than unrestrained children to be killed, whereas children using the car’s adult seat belts were only 36% less likely to be killed.

  • Unrestrained children were more likely to sit in the front, than in the rear, seats, but children sitting in the rear were 33% less likely to be killed than children sitting in the front.

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