; Zaloshnja, E.
; and Sheppard, M.A.
In 46th Annual Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, Sept. 29 - Oct. 2, 2002
pgs. 239-259 , Barrington, IL: Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM) (2002)
Editor(s): Association for the Advancement of Automotive MedicineThis paper provides the first extensive examination of national crash data for evidence about the need for booster seats. We used both cost regression models and probabilistic regression models to estimate the differences in crash consequences for children 4-7 vs. 8-13 year old. We used those models including first all 4-13 year old children not seated in child safety seats that were involved in reported tow-away crashes and fatal crashes from 1993 to 1999, and then only matched pairs of children from the two age groups seating in the back of the vehicle and shoulder-belted. We found that 1993-99 national crash data provide no evidence that crash-involved children ages 4-7 in lap-shoulder belts fare worse on average than children ages 8-13. If anything, they may fare better.
California recently passed a law requiring booster seats for child occupants aged 5-7. Other states are debating similar laws. However, the claimed failings of current belts that underlie these laws and the aggressive Boost America campaign are not yet rigorously examined. The data supporting the need for the booster seats are thin. They include the result of sled tests, crash investigations, and one hospital study.
The objective of this study is to examine on a national level whether shoulder-belted occupants aged 4-7 fare better or worse in crashes than shoulder-belted occupants aged 8-13. Although this study does not focuses directly on the differences in injury between children seating on booster seats and children not seating on them, it helps the debate on the need for booster seats. If shoulder-belted occupants aged 4-7 fare worse, it strengthens the rationale for requiring use of booster seats for children under 8.