Disparities in Child Passenger Safety


This CSN infographic focuses on the disparities in child passenger deaths and offers prevention strategies.

Download a print version of the infographic

Disparities in Child Passenger Safety

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children[*]

From 2010 through 2014, an average of 343 child passengers died per year

When broken out by age, that comes to:

  • 115 children <1 through 4 years old
  • 100 children 5 through 9 years old
  • 128 children 10 through 14 years old


When broken out by race/ethnicity[†], that comes to:

  • 261 White
  • 80 Hispanic/Latino (H/L)
  • 60 Black
  • 10 American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN)
  • 7 Asian/Pacific Islander (PI)

child passenger deaths per year

But these numbers don’t tell the whole story…

AI/AN child passengers die at a higher rate than any other racial/ethnic group

This means that for every 1,000,000

  • White children, 5.6
  • H/L children, 5.4
  • Black children, 6.5
  • AI/AN children, 16.7
  • Asian/PI children, 2.1

die as passengers

AI/AN child passengers are:

  • 2.6 times more likely to die than Black child passengers
  • 3.0 times more likely to die than White child passengers
  • 3.1 times more likely to die than H/L child passengers
  • 7.8 times more likely to die than Asian/PI child passengers (WISQARS)

Children in rural areas are 2 to 5 times more likely to be seriously or fatally injured in a crash than in urban areas (Huseth, 2013)

The good news is that these deaths are preventable

Child passenger deaths have decreased by 67% from 2005 through 2014 (WISQARS)
























Child safety seats can reduce fatalities by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers (NHTSA, 2013)

4 out of 5 parents report that their child used the age-appropriate restraint on every trip (Macy, 2014)

Parents who received information about child safety seats from their child’s doctor’s office were nearly twice as likely to use the correct restraints (Macy, 2014)

Child restraint system (CRS) checks by certified child passenger safety technicians during well-child visits increase correct safety seat use in urban, low-income communities (Quinlan, 2007)

While the gap is closing, disparities still exist

What can we do to fix it?

Provide culturally competent outreach to vulnerable and underserved populations

Tailor programs and campaigns to reach parents of different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds

Distribute education materials in multiple languages

Have health care providers talk to parents about age-appropriate child restraint systems

Provide CRS checks at health centers in vulnerable communities

Distribute free or low-cost child safety seats and booster seats to parents/caregivers in vulnerable and underserved populations




WISQARS. Fatal Injury Data. WISQARS (p. Accessed March 15, 2016 by R. Willmer). Atlanta, GA. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/fatal.html

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). (2013). 2011 Children Traffic Safety Fact Sheet. Retrieved from http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811767.pdf

Huseth, Andrea. (2013). Misinformation Contributing to Safety Issues in Vehicle Restraints for Children: A Rural/Urban Comparison, MPC-13-264. North Dakota State University - Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, Fargo: Mountain-Plains Consortium. Retrieved from: http://www.mountain-plains.org/pubs/pdf/MPC13-264.pdf

Macy, M. L., Cunningham, R. M., Resnicow, K., & Freed, G. L. (2014). Disparities in age-appropriate child passenger restraint use among children aged 1 to 12 years. Pediatrics, 133(2), 262–71. http://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2013-1908

Quinlan, K. P., Holden, J., & Kresnow, M.J. (2007). Providing car seat checks with well-child visits at an urban health center: a pilot study. Injury Prevention: Journal of the International Society for Child and Adolescent Injury Prevention, 13, 352–354. http://doi.org/10.1136/ip.2006.015099

To view this infographic on the web, visit: http://www.ChildrensSafetyNetwork.org/infographics/cps-disparities


[*] Children are defined as <15, toddlers are defined as 1 through 4, and infants are  defined as <1 year

[†] White, Black, AI/AN, and Asian/PI are non-Hispanic