Effect of seating position and restraint use on injuries to children in motor vehicle crashes

Marc D. Berg, Lawrence Cook, Howard M. Corneli, Donald D. Vernon, J. Michael Dean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Objective. To determine the effect of restraint use and seating position on injuries to children in motor vehicle crashes, with stratification by area of impact. Methods. Children <15 years old involved in serious automobile crashes in Utah from 1992 through 1996 were identified from statewide motor vehicle crash records. Serious crashes are defined as those resulting in occupant injuries with broken bones or significant bleeding or property damage exceeding $750. Probabilistic methods were used to link these records with hospital records. Analysis used logistic regression controlling for age, restraint use, occupant seating position, and type of crash. Results. We studied 5751 children and found 53% were rear seat passengers. More than 40% were unrestrained. Sitting in the rear seat offered a significant protective effect (adjusted odds ratio: 1.7; 95% confidence interval: 1.6-2.0), and restraint use enhanced this effect (adjusted odds ratio: 2.7; 95% confidence interval: 2.4-3.1). Mean hospital charges were significantly greater for front seat passengers. Conclusions. Rear seat position during a motor vehicle crash provides a significant protective effect, restraint use furthers this effect, and usage rates of restraint devices are low. The rear seat protective effect is in addition to and independent of the protection offered from restraints.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-835
Number of pages5
Issue number4 I
StatePublished - Apr 2000


  • Children
  • Injury
  • Motor vehicle crashes
  • Rear seat
  • Restraints
  • Seat belt usage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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