A study recently published in the journal Pediatrics showed a drop in motor vehicle child fatalities in states that had a booster seat law. North Carolina has had a booster seat law since 2005, but unfortunately WakeMed’s data is not showing a drop in child fatalities for ages birth through 8 years old, which is the age covered by the law.
However, even though our sample size is thankfully very small, total deaths from motor vehicle crashes per year in this age group have actually increased slightly. The reasons can be many, including overall increase in trauma volume, increased traffic, increased population, etc.
In overall motor vehicle crashes in this age group, restraint usage has increased, but the most concerning statistic in our data is an increase in children who have died in motor vehicle accidents who were unrestrained.
Parents, seatbelts, car seats, and boosters save lives. Additionally, it is North Carolina law for children to use a car seat or booster seat until they are at least 8 years old or 80 pounds, whichever comes first.
Please, buckle up, and make sure your children do too!
Debra Petrarca is WakeMed’s manager of Trauma Services. WakeMed features the only Level 1 Trauma Center in Wake County.