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Restraint use and rear seating were associated with fewer serious injuries and deaths for children in motor vehicle crashes

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QUESTION: Are restraint use and rear seating position associated with lower risks of serious injuries or death for children in motor vehicle crashes?


Cohort study.


Utah, USA.


5751 children <15 years of age who were passengers in a motor vehicle crash resulting in property damage over US$750 and fatality, admission to hospital, injuries with broken bones, or significant bleeding to any automobile occupant. Children travelling in passenger cars, light trucks, and vans were included. Children were between the ages of birth and 4 years (n=2016), 5 and 11 years (n=2231), and 12 and 14 years (n=1504).

Assessment of risk factors

For the years 1992–6, motor vehicle crash records from a statewide database, including data on age, restraint use, type of crash, and front or rear seating in the vehicle, were linked by probabilistic methods to hospital discharge records. Restraint use was classified as optimal (a safety seat for ages …

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  • Sources of funding: US Department of Transportation and US Department of Health and Human Services.

  • For correspondence: Dr M D Berg, Michigan State University, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, DeVos Children's Hospital, 100 Michigan St NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, USA.