Fatalities of children 0-7 years old in the second row

  • Viano D
  • Parenteau C
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OBJECTIVE: The safety of children riding in the second-row of light vehicles remains an important issue. This study investigates fatal accidents of children 0-7 years old by seating position and principal direction of force. It considers the number of fatalities, exposure, and risk. METHODS: The 1996-2005 FARS was analyzed for occupant fatalities by age (0-7 and >or= 8 years old), seating position (front, second, and third-row, and left, middle and right) and principal direction of force (1-12 o'clock PDOF, rollover, and other/unknown). Light vehicles were included with model year 1990+. The 1996-2005 NASS-CDS was similarly analyzed for occupant exposure. Fatality risk was defined as the number of fatalities in FARS divided by the exposure from NASS-CDS for each seating position and crash direction. RESULTS: Two thirds (67.8%) of 0-to 7-year-old child fatalities occupied second-row-seats in FARS. A nearly equal number died in rollovers (20.3%), front impacts (20.2%), and side crashes (19.6%). About 354 deaths occur to second-row-seated children annually. A majority (76.6%) of children ride in the second-row based on tow away crashes in NASS-CDS. Most are exposed to front impacts (41.6%), followed by side impacts (16.5%). Rollovers are the lowest frequency (5.0%). However, fatality risk is highest in rollovers (1.37%), followed by right-side (0.47%) and left-side impacts (0.34%). Near-seated children in the second-row have a 3.04% fatality risk for right-side (3 o'clock) impacts. This is nearly twice the 1.53% risk for near-side second-row children in left-side (9 o'clock) impacts. Overall, right-side impacts have a 37% higher fatality risk than left-side impacts, irrespective of second-row seating position. The second-row has a 43.4% lower fatality risk than the front seat (0.30% v 0.53%) and the third-row is 58.5% lower (0.22% v 0.53%) for 0-to 7-year-old children. Overall, children seated behind the driver have an 8.1% lower fatality risk than those seated behind the right-front passenger, although the center second-row-seat has the lowest risk (0.27%). Children in the second-row have a 65-71% lower fatality risk than the driver with the lowest relative risk in the center second-row-seat (0.29) and highest in the second-row right position (0.35). CONCLUSIONS: Children seated behind the driver have a lower fatality risk than those seated behind the right-front passenger. The higher risk to right second-row children is from near-side impacts at 3-4 o'clock and rollovers. In terms of priorities, rollovers, side impacts, and frontal crashes cause most fatalities. The highest risks for 0-to 7-year-old children in the second-row are in near-side impacts and rollovers.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Child Safety
  • Crashes
  • Fatalities
  • Injury Prevention
  • Injury Risk

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  • David C. Viano

  • Chantal S. Parenteau

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