Child Passenger Safety

The Biomechanics Behind Child Passenger Safety

If you are a Research in Action reader in the field of child passenger safety, you know the safest ways to properly restrain a child in a motor vehicle and may even work to educate parents on this topic. What may be less obvious, however, is the complex body of biomechanical engineering research behind the current best practice recommendations.

Minimizing ‘Permissive Sub-optimal Restraint’

This month, Safe Kids released an interesting report based on a recent survey of more than 1,000 parents and caregivers with children 10 years and younger. Nearly one in four respondents stated that they have driven without their child in a car seat or booster seat. Even more concerning was that some parents are comfortable with keeping their children inappropriately restrained under certain conditions, including: during shorter trips, when driving at night, if in a rush, or if trying to ‘reward’ the child. This ‘permissive sub-optimal restraint’ was seen more frequently in certain subgroups of parents including those who were younger or with higher education and household income.

Trends in Child Injury: An Article Review

I recently came across a new review article on child injury prevention by Drs. Brian Johnston and Beth Ebel at University of Washington. In it, they describe that although overall unintentional injury death among US children aged 0-19 years in 2000-2009 fell by 30%, there is still much work to be done.

Setting the International Agenda for Child Passenger Safety Advancement

While culture may be different and the specifics of restraint best practices may vary, at the core, optimizing protection of children in motor vehicle crashes is an international priority. To this end I, along with colleagues at SAFER, the Vehicle and Traffic Safety Research Center at Chalmers University in Göteborg, Sweden, organized an international strategy session titled “Child Occupant Protection: Latest Knowledge and Future Opportunities.” The planning group brought together international leaders in the fields of child occupant protection, biomechanics and auto safety from the US, Sweden, Australia, Canada, Spain and France for an intense two-day brainstorming September 6-7 in Sweden.

Plan in Advance for Traveling With a Car Seat

I recently read an interesting article from TODAY about whether parents should bring their own car seats when traveling with children, or rely on rental car companies to supply them. While the article recommends it may be best to always bring your own seat, the decision may not always be straightforward, and planning in advance for travel with a car seat is key.

The Challenges of Child Seat Installations

Child restraint system (CRS) misuse is a common occurrence that remains a challenge for the child passenger safety community and caregivers. Particularly alarming is that, although recent estimates of CRS misuse are as high as 72 percent, other research has found that 90 percent of caregivers are confident or very confident in their installation of a CRS. In research published in Injury Prevention this month, my CIRP@CHOP colleagues and I investigated caregivers’ confidence in CRS installations with interesting results.

A Rare Look Into a Rare Event- School Bus Crash Investigation

School bus transportation remains the safest form of ground transportation in the US. Because injuries and fatalities involving school bus crashes are rare, when they do happen, it’s all the more important to understand the mechanisms of injury to child passengers. Recently my CIRP@CHOP colleague Kristy Arbogast, PhD and I were presented with a unique opportunity by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to assist with an investigation into a fatal 2012 school bus crash in Port St. Lucie, FL.

A Lesson in Royal Car Seat Safety

On Tuesday, July 23, the world watched as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge introduced us to their first child, Prince George. For those of us in the child passenger safety community, the happy occasion was soon mixed with concern as the new parents strapped their son into a child safety seat and drove off. As many blogs, forums, and national news outlets have reported, it appeared that although Prince George was rear-facing he was not properly restrained in his child safety seat.

Babies Have a Say On Comfort of Rear-facing Car Seats

Read a guest blog post from CHOP's Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies (CChIPS) investigator Julie Bing of The Ohio State University. Julie discusses recent CChIPS research on the comfort of children in rear-facing vs. forward-facing child restraint systems.

Crash Data Collection: Keeping Focus on Children

Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is holding a public meeting to gather input on its efforts to significantly upgrade the National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) for the first time since NASS’s inception in the 1970’s. NASS collects data on a nationally representative sample of police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes and related injuries, and therefore plays a pivotal role in research, legislation, and policy. CIRP@CHOP has been working with NHTSA since 2007 to develop the National Child Occupant Special Study (NCOSS), a system for collecting supplemental child-specific data as part of NASS-GES (General Estimates System), and will continue to be vocal in ensuring the unique safety needs of children are considered as NASS is modernized.

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