Introduction: Data from the population-based Nevada State Trauma Registry were used to examine rates and determinants of restraint use in children who were involved in a car crash and seriously injured. Patterns of injuries in these children are also assessed.
Methods: Data were obtained from children 14 years of age or younger who entered the Nevada State Trauma Registry because of a serious injury caused by a car crash. The study period was from January 1, 1989, to December 31, 1992.
Results: Average annual age-specific crash injury rates per 100,000 were higher in rural areas than in urban areas. In children younger than two years old, 61% were restrained at the time of the crash; however, only about one third of all children over the age of three were restrained. In ages 0-4 years, only 5.3% of the African-American children were restrained at the time of the crash compared with 47.2% of the Caucasian children. Children who were not restrained were more likely to have more adverse outcomes and to have different types of injury compared with their restrained counterparts.
Conclusions: The use of restraining devices in children who suffer a serious injury in a motor vehicle crash continues to be low and appears to be related to specific demographic characteristics. The findings indicated that restraint use at the time of the crash was related to less severe injury as indicated by certain outcome variables.