This article critiques studies, such as that reported by Guerin and MacKinnon in the American Journal of Public Health. These studies are urgently needed in order to evaluate the effectiveness of child passenger safety laws. Using motor vehicle traffic accident reports from local police jurisdictions and California Highway Patrol field officers, Guerin and MacKinnon reported an eight percent decrease in injuries to children in the first year (1983) following implementation of the California Child Passenger Safety Law. In considering the implication of this study, however, some of its limitations need to be kept in mind. One limitation is the reliance on police records. Several studies in the past two years have indicated that police report data appear to underestimate the magnitude of motor vehicle injury rates. Furthermore, the impact of child passenger safety laws on the severity and patterns of injury are not reflected in the gross numbers reported in official statistics. Also to be considered is the extent to which the eight percent decrease in injuries reported by Guerin and MacKinnon can be accounted for by factors other than the restraint laws themselves. Another factor to be taken into account is possible misuse of child restraints. Evaluation of the effectiveness of mandatory child restraint use law is complex and requires a variety of measures and methods. Hospital based data systems may provide additional trauma data. However, additional measures would be required including correct restraint use, law enforcement activities and intensity of educational activities.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    American Public Health Association

    800 I Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001-3710
  • Authors:
    • Agran, P F
    • Wehrle, P F
  • Publication Date: 1985-2

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00399365
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-038 345
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Sep 30 1985 12:00AM