Tuesday, April 29, 2008

utah car seat / booster seat law - finding the data

From my previous post, it is obvious that I don't like Utah's new safety seat law, but I'm willing to be wrong. Maybe the car seats offer an amazing improvement over lap and shoulder belts. Let me be clear, I plan on keeping my children in car seats until they are 8. The question is, what risk am I taking having them only restrained by seatbelts (for example, an emergency). What I want to see is the hard data. I want to see if the numbers being quoted in the news media and by proponents are fair.

What I'm looking for:
  • How many restrained children between the ages of 4-8 were injured in car accidents (both seat belts and car seats)
  • How many restrained children between the ages of 4-8 were injured in car accidents in ways directly attributed to seat belts.
  • How many restrained children between the ages of 4-8 were in car accidents and not injured (restrained by seatbelts and also car seats)
  • Injury rates at different car speeds
  • As a control, the injury rates of adults sitting in the back seats of cars that were properly restrained.
Well it looks like the state farm survey answered my questions. It is very technical so this link might be more readable. Most interesting fact: while booster seats help, the single best thing you can do is have your child in the back seat. That is, children in the back seat in seat belts or booster seats did better than children in the front seat.

If you believe the surveys done by CHOP, state laws are how most parents decide how to restrain their children. That is, many parents believe that it is safe and preferred to use just a seat belt on a child over the age of 4 if the state does not mandate otherwise. I guess in that case the law is a good idea, I just wish they made more provisions for emergencies.

Other sources:
KSL - http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=3187493 - mentions State Farm and Philadelphia Children's Hospital safety study
fact sheet put out by partners to child passenger safety with sources: http://stokes.chop.edu/programs/injury/files/PCPS_Reports/CPSIR_3.pdf
The big state farm/ children's hospital study : http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/289/21/2835
bunch of pdf charts of various things like injury rates, booster seat compliance, etc.: http://stokes.chop.edu/programs/injury/educational_advocacy/reports.php
a bunch of statistics for 2007 of injury rates for children based on where they were, how far from home, etc: http://stokes.chop.edu/programs/injury/files/PCPS_Reports/2007_TraumaLinkRptEnglish.pdf
booster seat ratings: http://www.nhtsa.gov/portal/nhtsa_eou/info.jsp?type=booster

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