Risk of Injury to Child Passengers in Sport Utility Vehicles

This article reports on a study undertaken to determine the relative risk of injury to children involved in crashes in Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) compared with those in passenger cars. The authors used data from an on-going motor vehicle crash surveillance system. They identified a probability sample of 3,922 child occupants 0 to 15 years of age, representing 72,396 children in crashes of either SUVs or passenger cars (model year 1998 or newer), from 3 large US regions. Injuries were categorized as concussions and other brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, facial fractures and lacerations, internal organ injuries, extremity fractures, and scalp lacerations. Other factors considered include differences in child seating position, restraint use, vehicle weight, exposure of the child to a passenger airbag, and whether the vehicle rolled over. In this data group, 38.2% of the children were in SUVs and 61.8% were in passenger cars. The average weight of SUVs was 1,317 lb greater than the average weight of passenger cars. Among all children in the study, those restrained appropriately were less likely to be injured and those in the front seat were more likely to be injured. In both vehicle types, children exposed to a passenger airbag were more likely to be injured than were those who were not. Rollover crashes increased the risk of injury in both vehicle types and occurred more than twice as frequently with SUVs (2.9%, compared with 1.2% with passenger cars). There was a trend for increasing vehicle weight being a protective factor with both vehicle types. The authors conclude that the risk of injury was not significantly different for children in SUVs versus passenger cars. However, especially detrimental for children in SUVs was being unrestrained versus restrained in a rollover crash. And the potential advantage offered by heavier SUVs seems to be offset by other factors, including an increased tendency to roll over.

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  • Authors:
    • Daly, Lauren
    • Kallan, Michael J
    • Arbogast, Kristy B
    • Durbin, Dennis R
  • Publication Date: 2006-1


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 9-14
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01042709
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 28 2007 9:19AM