State Health Department Study Shows Booster Seats Preventing Child Injuries

ALBANY, N.Y. (Aug. 10, 2010) - A New York State Department of Health (DOH) study, "Effects of Upgraded Child Restraint Law Designed to Increase Booster Seat Use in New York," published yesterday in the 2010 September issue of Pediatrics found that the injury rate for motor vehicle crashes decreased by 18 percent for children 4 to 6 years of age after the state law requiring booster seats was implemented in 2005.

"Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children in this age group," said State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. "This is the first state study comparing traffic injury rates for children before and after implementation of New York's booster seat law. It is clear from this study that booster seats are playing an integral role in preventing serious injuries to young children and saving lives."

The study, funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, was conducted by Kainan Sun, Ph.D., Michael Bauer, M.S., and Susan Hardman, B.S., from DOH's Bureau of Injury Prevention. It compares the traffic injury rate for booster-seat aged children before and after the implementation of the state law enacted in March 2005 by using the State Department of Motor Vehicle's Accident Information System. The decrease in child injuries was primarily attributed to a 72 percent increase in the use of child restraints as required by state law.

New York law requires the use of booster seats or other child restraint systems for children 4 to 6 years old when riding in motor vehicles. In November 2009, the state child restraint law was expanded to include all children until their 8th birthday.

"One of the most important actions a parent can take when transporting a child in a motor vehicle is buckling them properly into a car seat or booster seat that is appropriate for their child's age and weight," Dr. Daines said. "Children grow very quickly, so it is important for parents to monitor this growth and ensure that their children are in booster seats when they no longer fit traditional, forward-facing child safety seats."

The American Academy of Pediatrics and NHTSA recommend the use of belt-positioning booster seats to prevent injury when children outgrow forward-facing child safety seats, usually at 4 years of age or 40 pounds, but are still too young and too small to properly fit into the seat belt alone.

More information about child passenger safety is available on DOH's Web site at www.nyhealth.gov/prevention/injury_prevention.