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The impact of a nationwide effort to reduce airbag-related deaths among children: an examination of fatality trends among younger and older age groups

, : The impact of a nationwide effort to reduce airbag-related deaths among children: an examination of fatality trends among younger and older age groups. Journal of Safety Research 36(4): 309-320

Introduction: The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of a nationwide response to emerging airbag-related deaths among children. This response, implemented in 1996, focused on moving children to a rear seat and increasing proper restraint usage. Method: Fatality trends from 1992 through 1996 and from 1996 through 2003 were examined for younger children (ages 0-3) and for older children (ages 4-12). Results: Prior to 1997, a steady reduction in unrestrained deaths (among younger children) was offset by increases in restrained deaths (among younger and older children), increases in rear-seat deaths (among younger children), and increases in front-seat deaths (among older children). After 1996, there were significant decreases in fatalities in both age groups, with larger and more immediate reductions among the younger children. The largest reductions were immediately after 1996, when younger-child deaths declined by 16%, and after 1999, when deaths among both age groups declined by about 16%. Conclusions: The immediate reduction in front-seat deaths among younger children, particularly infants, appears to have been closely associated with the nationwide public information efforts implemented in 1996. Later reductions in front-seat and unrestrained deaths, among both younger and older children, were likely associated with the combination of legislative, enforcement, and public information programs, which increased after 1999. Impact on Industry: The findings suggest that a large expenditure of resources by public and private-sector organizations after 1996 resulted in the prevention of hundreds of deaths among young children. In addition, the results provide insights with regard to the categories of deaths most affected by such programs and issues that deserve additional attention. (c) 2005 National Safety Council and Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


PMID: 16153658

DOI: 10.1016/j.jsr.2005.05.004

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