Safety seats effective in preventing serious crash injuries to children: study

May 13, 2010

Use of child safety seats reduces the rate of incapacitating injuries among children in any type of motor vehicle crash, according to a study (.pdf file) released this month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Researchers also examined commonly injured body regions among children younger than 8. Data from the National Automotive Sampling System General Estimates System from 1999 to 2008 was analyzed, as was data from the National Trauma Data Bank -- National Sample Program from 2003 to 2007. The incidence rate of incapacitating injuries in rollover crashes among unrestrained children was nearly 3 times that for restrained children. Unrestrained children in near-side impact crashes were 8 times as likely to sustain incapacitating injuries than restrained children in child safety seats. Additional findings show:

  • Head injuries were most commonly sustained by children in motor vehicle crashes.
  • Children younger than 1 had higher incidence rates of head injuries than children ages 1 to 3 and 4 to 7.
  • Cerebrum injuries, such as contusions or lacerations, were the most common type of head injuries among all children.