Child passenger safety practices in the U.S.: disparities in light of updated recommendations

Am J Prev Med. 2012 Sep;43(3):272-81. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.05.023.

Abstract

Background: Children are best protected in motor vehicle collisions when properly using the appropriate restraint and sitting in a rear row. Racial and ethnic disparities have been reported in injury statistics and use of any restraint; however, predictors of safety seat use, being unrestrained, and sitting in the front seat have not been explored previously.

Purpose: To determine factors associated with child passenger safety practices by race/ethnicity in a national sample of child passengers aged <13 years.

Methods: Secondary analysis conducted in 2011 of the 2007, 2008, and 2009 National Survey of the Use of Booster Seats in which child passenger restraint use was observed directly. Age-stratified, survey-weighted chi-square and logistic regression analyses were conducted.

Results: Restraint use was observed for 21,476 children aged <13 years. A decline in child safety seat use and increase in being unrestrained were observed with increasing child age. In multivariate analyses, race/ethnicity, unrestrained drivers, and sitting in the front seat were associated with lower odds of child safety seat use among children aged <8 years. Older child age was associated with sitting in the front seat and being unrestrained. The presence of multiple child passengers was associated with lower odds of sitting in the front but higher odds of being unrestrained.

Conclusions: Few children use the recommended child passenger restraints. Understanding the reasons for the suboptimal child passenger restraint practices identified in this study is essential for the development of effective programs to reduce or eliminate preventable motor vehicle collision-related injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Automobiles / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Child Restraint Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Continental Population Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Seat Belts / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult