A review of cervical fractures and fracture-dislocations without head impacts sustained by restrained occupants

Accid Anal Prev. 1993 Dec;25(6):731-43. doi: 10.1016/0001-4575(93)90037-w.


Crash injury reduction via lap-shoulder belt use has been well documented. Like any other interior car component, lap-shoulder belts may be related to injury in certain crashes. Relatively unknown is the fact that cervical fractures or fracture-dislocations to restrained front seat occupants occur where no head contact was evidenced by both medical records and car inspection. A review of the available literature on car crash injuries revealed more than 100 such cases. A review of the National Accident Severity Study (NASS) 80-88 file was also conducted, revealing more examples. Case capsule descriptions from the authors' files are also detailed along with examples of such injuries in infants and children in child restraints. However, cervical fractures or fracture dislocations are rare, as evidenced by the relatively few cases identified in the literature, in the author's files, and by an analysis of NASS 80-90 data that revealed a cervical spine injury frequency of only .4% at the AIS-3 level (Huelke, Morris, and Mackay 1992).

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cervical Vertebrae / injuries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Joint Dislocations / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Seat Belts*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / etiology*
  • Spinal Fractures / etiology*