Saturday, August 27, 2005
Car Seat Controversy?
We have received several phone calls in recent weeks regarding a controversial new 'research' study that was published on the 'Freakonomics' website. To view the article, click here.
The article states that the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data shows that child restraint systems are no more effective than regular seatbelts for children ages two and up. There are several potential problems with this conclusion that need to be resolved.
First, FARS data only accounts for fatality crashes. The incidence of injury is far greater than the incidence of death in motor vehicle crashes, and this study doesn't address the way that child restraints may function to prevent injury in less-severe motor vehicle crashes.
Second, the 'study' has not been peer-reviewed. We encourage the authors to submit their findings to a reputable peer-reviewed journal so that it can be scrutinized appropriately.
Third, we are concerned that there has been no consideration for the fact that young children, especially the preschool population, may not STAY in place in a seat belt. I am not sure how well the authors know three and four year olds, but we are concerned about children climbing about unrestrained in cars. This could cause significant distraction to the driver and could result in a crash, where the children would then be totally unrestrained. So, even if car seats are 'no better' than seat belts, at least they keep the children still where they will not become a potentially fatal distraction.
ABC Therapeutics continues to strongly recommend the use of child restraints for all children.