An Evaluation of Child Passenger Safety: The Effectiveness and Benefits of Safety Seats: Summary
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An Evaluation of Child Passenger Safety: The Effectiveness and Benefits of Safety Seats: Summary

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    The purpose of child safety seats is to reduce the number of child passengers killed or injured in motor vehicle crashes. The seats function by absorbing and safely distributing crash impact loads over the child's body while holding the child in place and preventing contacts with vehicle interior components or ejection from the vehicle. Seats have to be convenient and easy to use. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 specifies performance and labeling requirements for child safety seats. The objectives of this agency staff evaluation are to measure the effectiveness, benefits and usage of safety seats and other safety measures for child passengers aged 0-4. The study is based on statistical analyses of National Accident Sampling System, Fatal Accident Reporting System and State accident data, analyses of sled test and compliance test results, and observational surveys of restraint system usage and misuse. It was estimated that:

    - Child safety seats saved the lives of 158 children aged 0-4 during 1984. Lap belts saved an additional 34 lives. In all, 192 children were saved by child passenger safety measures in 1984. - 46 percent of child passengers aged 0-4 were in a safety seat in 1984. Ani additional 14 percent used the lap belt only. o 39 percent of safety seats were correctly used in 1984.

    - A correctly used safety seat reduces fatality risk by 71 percent and serious injury risk by 67 percent. But misuse can partially or completely nullify this effect. In 1984, the average overall effectiveness of safety seats (correct users plus misusers) was 46 percent. /Abstract from report summary page/

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