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Evaluating the Effectiveness of Child Safety Seats and Seat Belts in Protecting Children from Injury

  • Steven D. Levitt
  • Joseph J. Doyle

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 paper 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. 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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w12519.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12519.

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Date of creation: Sep 2006
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Publication status: published as Doyle, Joseph J., Jr. and Steven D. Levitt. "Evaluating the Effectiveness of Child Safety Seats and Seat Belts in Protecting Children from Injury." Economic Inquiry 48, 3 (July 2010): 521-36.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12519
Note: CH LE PE HE
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. 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.
  2. De Meza, D. & Webb, D.C., 2000. "Advantageous Selection in Insurance Market," Discussion Papers 0007, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
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