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Evaluating The Effectiveness Of Child Safety Seats And Seat Belts In Protecting Children From Injury




"Young children are required to use child safety seats, and the age threshold at which children can legally graduate to seat belts has steadily increased. This article tests the relative effectiveness of child safety seats, lap-and-shoulder seat belts, and lap belts in preventing injuries among motor vehicle passengers aged 2-6 yr. We analyze three large, representative samples of crashes reported to police, as well as linked hospital data. We find no apparent difference in the two most serious injury categories for children in child safety seats versus lap-and-shoulder belts. Child safety seats provide a statistically significant 25% reduction in the least serious injury category. Lap belts are somewhat less effective than the two other types of restraints but far superior to riding unrestrained". ("JEL" I18) Copyright (c) 2008 Western Economic Association International.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph J. Doyle & Steven D. Levitt, 2010. "Evaluating The Effectiveness Of Child Safety Seats And Seat Belts In Protecting Children From Injury," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 521-536, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:48:y:2010:i:3:p:521-536

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. de Meza, David & Webb, David C, 2001. "Advantageous Selection in Insurance Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(2), pages 249-262, Summer.
    2. Steven D. Levitt, 2008. "Evidence that Seat Belts Are as Effective as Child Safety Seats in Preventing Death for Children Aged Two and Up," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 158-163, February.
    3. Peltzman, Sam, 1975. "The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 677-725, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lauren E. Jones & Nicolas R. Ziebarth, 2017. "U.S. Child Safety Seat Laws: Are they Effective, and Who Complies?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 36(3), pages 584-607, June.
    2. Lauren E. Jones & Nicolas R. Ziebarth, 2016. "Successful Scientific Replication and Extension of Levitt (2008): Child Seats are Still No Safer Than Seat Belts," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(5), pages 920-928, August.
    3. Anderson, D. Mark & Sandholt, Sina, 2016. "Booster Seats and Traffic Fatalities among Children," IZA Discussion Papers 10071, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K2 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law
    • R4 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics


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