The first law protecting child passengers in motor vehicles was passed by Tennessee 41 years ago. Since that time, much has been learned about best practices and countermeasures that work to reduce death and injury among children on our roadways. While legislation, education, enforcement and technology have all been employed to prevent injuries, motor vehicle injuries remain a leading cause of death among US children. (1)
Child Passenger Safety
Child Passenger Safety
Definition: Child passenger safety requires consistent use of correctly installed safety seats, booster seats, or seat belts that are appropriate for a child's size and age.
Magnitude of the Problem:
- Motor vehicles crashes are the leading cause of death among children, according to the CDC.
- An average of 4 children, ages 14 and under, were killed, and 529 were injured every day in motor vehicle crashes, in 2008 (NHTSA)
- According to Safe Kids:
- 31% of the passenger deaths for children under the age of 4 and 42% of passenger deaths for children ages 4-7 were not restrained in 2009. Child safety seats and belts can reduce fatal injury by up to 71% for infants and 54% for children ages 1-4.
- Approximately 1,900 children ages 0-14 die in motor vehicle-related accidents every year since 2000.
Prevention: Strategies to improve child passenger safety include:
- child safety seat laws, which have been adopted by all states and which have reduced fatal injuries to children by 35% and all injuries to children by 17%
- child safety seat distribution and education
- community-wide information and enhanced enforcement campaigns
- incentive and education programs that provide rewards to parents or children for the purchase and proper use of child safety seats
- safety seat education that is provided by health care professionals in clinical settings
Reports of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) among adults, particularly in professional sports, are often in the news. But what about TBIs among children and youth? In 2012, an estimated 329,290 children (age 19 or younger) were treated in emergency departments (EDs) for sports and recreation-related injuries that included a diagnosis of concussion or TBI. From 2001 to 2012, the rate of ED visits for sports and recreation-related injuries with a diagnosis of concussion or TBI, alone or in combination with other injuries, more than doubled among children (age 19 or younger).
In 2015, injuries caused 13,363 deaths in U.S. children and adolescents aged 0-19. In addition, injuries were responsible for 200,225 hospitalizations and almost 7.7 million emergency department (ED) visits in this population (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], WISQARS, 2017). One important way to understand the burden of childhood injuries is by looking at the costs of those injuries.