October 2009

Booster seat laws saving kids’ lives

Booster seat laws significantly reduce the number of child deaths in the most serious head-on motor vehicle crashes, concludes a new study from York University and the Hospital for Sick Children, published in Injury Prevention. “We know that booster seats reduce injuries to children, and that laws increase their use," said Alison Macpherson, an assistant professor in York’s School of Kinesiology and Health Science, in a news release announcing the study. “What this study shows is that laws requiring booster seats reduce child deaths in fatal crashes – crashes in which someone dies.” Lead researcher Pam Farmer, a former York graduate student, who now works at the Ontario Injury Prevention Research Centre, found through analyzing U.S. statistics that children in states with booster seat laws were much more likely to be restrained in age-appropriate booster seats. The article is published in the October 2009 edition of Injury Prevention. “Our study found that booster seats reduce deaths by about 20%,” said Dr. Andrew Howard, co-principal investigator and medical director of the Trauma Program at the hospital. “However, this may be a conservative estimate of the benefits because we looked only at crashes in which someone is killed. It did not include children who were in booster seats in accidents – some of them serious – in which no one was killed.”

Updated October 15, 2009