Child passenger restraint use and emergency department–reported injuries: A special study using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System–All Injury Program, 2004

  • Published: Journal of Safety Research, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 25–31, 2008
  • Authors: Karen C. Lee, Ruth A. Shults, Arlene I. Greenspan, Tadesse Haileyesus & Ann M. Dellinger
  • Date Added: 09 Apr 2012
  • Last Update: 23 Jul 2013
  • Format: html


To assess levels of use, mis-use and non-use of child car restraints among different groups.


Review of accident records and interviews with parents of children attending an Emergency Department having being injured in a road accident.

Key Findings:

  • In 2004, more than 180,000 child passengers aged 12 years or younger sought care in U.S. hospital emergency departments for injuries sustained in motor-vehicle crashes.

  •  Data for 635 injured children aged 12 years or younger who were treated at 15 hospital EDs in 2004 was collected and their parents interviewed about the accident circumstances.

  • 9% of the children were unrestrained and 36% were inappropriately restrained.

  • Black and Hispanic children were about six times more likely to be unrestrained than Non–Hispanic Whites (12% and 14%, respectively, vs. 2%).

  • 77% of inappropriate restraint use occurred among children aged 4–8 years, who were prematurely placed in seatbelts.

  • 8% of children required hospitalization; unrestrained children were three times more likely to be hospitalized than restrained children (21% vs. 7%).

  • Age–appropriate restraint use should be promoted for child passengers, particularly among Black and Hispanic children, and children riding in trucks.