Child Passenger Safety and the Immunity Fallacy: Why What We are Doing is not Working

Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in the United States for people aged 1-34, and the most prevalent and costly injury sources are traffic crashes. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children from 1 to 14 years of age. In 2001, 2,197 children aged 0-14 died and 267,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes. Restraint use, safety belt, booster seat, or otherwise, among 5-11 year olds, is estimated to be only 57%. The purpose of this paper is two-fold: (1) to introduce the concept that most caregivers possess an immunity fallacy related to child passenger safety, or a reduced perception of risk for motor vehicle injury to their children; and (2) to propose that in order to effectively combat this phenomenon, safety advocates must remodel campaign designs to incorporate intervention messages that are specifically designed to increase feelings of personal vulnerability and perceptions of risk.


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  • Accession Number: 01004224
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Sep 19 2005 10:45AM