News Motor Vehicle Deaths by Age

SafeDad

CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
I did a little research last year. The AAP policy statement on rear-facing and forward-facing was released in early 2011. It studied serious injuries, not fatalities. I was curious to know if there was a huge increase from children dying in car crashes once they reached 12 months of age (and turned FF) or at 4 years of age (and moved to a booster).

http://carseatblog.com/21088/motor-vehicle-deaths-by-age/

There's another year of data now for 2011. It's hardly scientific, since it is only raw data. There may not be any conclusions to be drawn from such data, but it is still an interesting discussion. Here are some similar numbers for just the most recent 5 years of data, 2007-2011:

WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports, National and Regional. Unintentional Injuries, Cause of Death = MV Traffic (excludes Pedestrians).

Age <1: 480

Age 1: 473

Age 2: 472

Age 3: 434

Age 4: 430

Age 5: 422

Age 6: 378

Age 7: 356

Age 8: 384

Age 9: 383

Age 10: 340
 
ADS

Jackie010307

New member
The thing that stands out to me is that the numbers increase from age 7 to 8, stay roughly the same for 8 and 9, then decrease again at 10. Most states have age 8 for minimum no booster usage. This could loosely indicate that the age should be 10, but that's also assuming parents are prone to only doing the minimum.
 

SafeDad

CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
Just for my own curiousity, here are the numbers for the previous 5 years 2002-2006:


Age <1: 682

Age 1: 618

Age 2: 664

Age 3: 632

Age 4: 601

Age 5: 591

Age 6: 603

Age 7: 555

Age 8: 564

Age 9: 564

Age 10: 587
 

cantabdad

New member
Darren, thanks for researching and posting those statistics! It's reassuring to see how far we have come, even if there is always more work to do.

I took a brief look at Census data from 2000 and 2010 and it looks like the population of 0-5 year olds grew by about 5% during that time period, from about 19 million to 20 million -- so the decline in fatalities is even better when you consider it as a rate per capita. Conversely the population 5-9 decreased very slightly (-1%).

I did not have time to drill down further to get breakdowns by specific 1-year age cohort. Arguably it would also be worth adjusting by vehicle-miles of travel, though VMT growth during this period was very modest, and it's hard to know how much of that travel involved children in the car.
 

DawgDad

New member
Darren, thanks for researching and posting those statistics! It's reassuring to see how far we have come, even if there is always more work to do.

I took a brief look at Census data from 2000 and 2010 and it looks like the population of 0-5 year olds grew by about 5% during that time period, from about 19 million to 20 million -- so the decline in fatalities is even better when you consider it as a rate per capita. Conversely the population 5-9 decreased very slightly (-1%).

I did not have time to drill down further to get breakdowns by specific 1-year age cohort. Arguably it would also be worth adjusting by vehicle-miles of travel, though VMT growth during this period was very modest, and it's hard to know how much of that travel involved children in the car.

I agree and was going to mention the same thing! We are in a small baby boom, so the fact that these numbers have declined with a larger sample pool is just fantastic.
 

SafeDad

CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
Yup- definitely raw data so nothing is adjusted to provide much for any kind of specific conclusions.

For example, offhand, you could easily conclude that the typical transitions from rear-facing to forward-facing and forward-facing to booster don't make much difference in terms of fatality risk. Maybe they don't. The problem is there is no information on kids not using a restraint system at all in this data, not to mention misuse (like a 6-month old in a forward facing seat) and such. Being unrestrained is possibly as much as half as likely for kids 0-12 months as it is for older kids, which can greatly skew the results.

Even so, it's pretty clear that in terms of fatalities, were not seeing 5x as many kids dying when they start front facing, probably not even 2x! Just so hard to say from raw data. We really need another rear-facing study soon, one that not only looks at serious injury but also fatalities. In addition to low sample sizes, the lack of fatality data was a big gap in the last study.

And, of course, the big question that is NEVER answered in any study. What is the difference in risk if my kid is properly restrained in the back seat of a newer carseat and vehicle? By the time any peer reviewed study is published, it's already looking an an older dataset of carseats and vehicles. Many don't factor out misuse well, if at all. For a lot of advocates, many studies are not very relevant to their personal circumstances. And for those who don't drive distracted or impaired, the risks to their properly restrained kids are nearly zero anyway. Cutting that risk by a big sounding number like 50% (that may not even apply to them) is all but meaningless when the absolute risk is so low.
 

Stacy

New member
I just wanted to add that I really love reading Darren's posts. Particularly with your last paragraph above, since I have a ff 32 month old and I'm not very comfortable with it. But I really do realize that I need to relax a bit, and focus on other things. Thanks for your perspective, as always. :)
 

DawgDad

New member
Yep! The advancements in safety for cars, the retirement of outdated car seats, possible increase in awareness to age requirements for certain types of car seats and/or when to RF vs FF vs Booster. Raw data can show at least one thing in the midst of indicators...it's heading in the right direction. Educating the masses like what this blog/forum provides is what it's all about!
 

bnsnyde

New member
Was next to a car yesterday at a red light. 3 little kids in back with no seats. I was trying to determine if they looked 8 (legally can ride without here in Illinois). They didn't really look 8. Then they started to bounce around and I realized they were NOT buckled. At all. The mom was smiling and laughing with her kids. !!!!!

We have Buckle Buddy so I was able to report the plate number, but they just send a packet and I do not know what's in it or what form it's in. If it's effective...etc.
 

SafeDad

CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
=
We have Buckle Buddy so I was able to report the plate number, but they just send a packet and I do not know what's in it or what form it's in. If it's effective...etc.

Lol nice to know I'm not the only one who has it on my cell phone contacts list!
 

Carrie_R

Ambassador - CPS Technician
There are a number of figures in the study. 5x is the figure suggested in the AAP article to communicate to parents. Depending on age of child and type of crash, the difference between FF & RF varies from 1.23 to 6.16.
 

SafeDad

CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
Right- Table 3 shows the "odds ratios" of rear-facing vs. forward facing with heavily weighted data to try to equalize a number of variables, with the ratios for 12-23 month old children being 532% or over "5x safer".

Table 4 shows "Effectiveness" of rear-facing vs. unrestrained and forward-facing vs. unrestrained. Keep in mind that most types of misuse are not considered.

A notable result of the data is that it showed forward-facing seats were actually much more effective at protecting infants than they were at protecting 1-year olds. For all the fear mongering on the internet about internal decapitation, that may be a surprising result. Even the presenters seemed surprised when we asked about it when the paper was first presented at conferences. One speculated it was a result of small sample sizes for forward facing infants. They also speculated that the greater risk was to older, taller children having more head excursion-related injuries, especially since many seats are not installed or used correctly.

For a typical child, where misuse is often present, we may well find out that 2-year olds gain even more benefit from rear-facing than 1-year olds. Or we might find that other factors result in less of a difference. I wish we knew!
 

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