A study by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and State Farm insurance shows that teens who drive in states with primary seat belt law enforcement are more likely to buckle up than those in states with secondary enforcement.* It also found that teens buckle up more often while driving (82 percent) than as passengers (69 percent).
Dr. Winston is a board-certified practicing pediatrician, biomechanical engineer, and clinical researcher. She is the founder and co-scientific director of The Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
Since 1997, CPSTs have helped families safely navigate occupant protection for children with measurable results. Motor vehicle crashes are no longer the leading cause of death for children under age 4.* We have tracked steady increases in appropriate restraint use and a corresponding drop in fatalities—from about 2,000 per year in the 1990s to fewer than 1,100 in 2009 for children less than 16 years old.
One of the many benefits of attending a national conference like Lifesavers is the opportunity to hear leading policymakers communicate what they perceive to be our top safety priorities. One plenary session at Lifesavers this past April featured a panel discussion with leaders in the areas of roadway improvements, vehicle technologies, and occupant behaviors. During another, the new NHTSA head, David Strickland, took advantage of his first opportunity to address the Lifesavers group to lay out his goals and strategies.
I heard many familiar messages at these sessions: Driver distraction (in particular, texting) is a major area of concern; motorcycle fatalities are alarmingly high; drunk drivers are still major contributors to crashes, as are teen drivers. Basic problems like speeding and seat belt use also were mentioned as major areas of focus.
An analysis of Partners for CPS (PCPS) data reaffirms that boosters are an important step in providing protection to child passengers. The research input was more complete than previously published studies, and the results still prove that belt-positioning booster (BPB) use is more protective than seat belts alone. Children ages 4 to 8 using BPBs were 45 percent less likely to sustain injuries than those using just the vehicle seat belt.
Children from birth through age 3 seated in the center rear have a 43 percent lower risk of injury than those in rear-seat side positions, according to a recently published analysis of data from the Partners for Child Passenger Safety (PCPS) project of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
Why should my child ride in the center?
A national study of actual crashes shows that a child in the center has about half the likelihood of being injured, compared to a child on either side. The center position is farthest from any point of impact.
How can I decide which of my children to place in a side position?
While relatively few children are driven by teenage drivers, those young passengers are three times more likely to be injured than those driven by adults. Children riding with teens are often not correctly buckled up and more children under age 13 ride in the front seat.