Share this article on:

Childhood Deaths from Car Accidents Decrease

Beal, Eileen

AJN The American Journal of Nursing: May 2014 - Volume 114 - Issue 5 - p 21
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000446769.17449.0b
In the News

Racial and ethnic disparities remain.

Eileen Beal

Briana Cihiy gets a free check of her car seat by state police officer Joe Green in Roswell, New Mexico

Briana Cihiy gets a free check of her car seat by state police officer Joe Green in Roswell, New Mexico

The good news about kids and car crashes is that crash-related deaths among children younger than age 12 decreased 43% in the past decade. The bad news is that motor vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of death in children in the United States.

A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis of data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System explains why:

  • Only two states, Tennessee and Wyoming, require car seat or booster seat use until age eight, despite evidence that raising the age requirement increases in-car restraint use by a third and decreases deaths and fatal or incapacitating injuries by 17%.
  • Parents and other caregivers don't know which car seat or booster seat to use or don't know how to correctly install and maintain them.
  • Parents don't insist that safety restraints be used on every trip.

The CDC recommends that health care providers keep up to date on state laws and counsel parents and caregivers at each well-child checkup on the use of age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats, and seat belts on every trip, no matter how short. This is especially important for minority children; the data show that 45% of black children and 46% of Hispanic children who were younger than age 12 when they died in car accidents were not buckled up, compared with 26% of white children.

A CDC Vital Signs update ( provides links to additional information for parents on child-passenger safety and tips for heath care professionals, especially those working in pediatric and family practices. —Eileen Beal

Back to Top | Article Outline


Sauber-Schatz EK, et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014;63(5):113–8
    © 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved.