Newer FF/RF stats


Moderator - CPST Instructor
In looking for traffic safety data more domestic than this Swedish study and more recent than this US one I came across this NHTSA report that states:

Research on the effectiveness of child safety seats has found that child safety seats, when used properly, has found them to reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants (younger than 1 year old) and by 54 percent for toddlers (1 to 4 years old) in passenger cars. For infants and toddlers in light trucks, the corresponding reductions are 58 percent and 59 percent, respectively.

Since I am not terribly great at interpreting statistics, what would be a reasonable way to translate the 71% for the under 1 group into an assumed benefit of RF when compared to the 54% of the 1-4 age group? IS that reasonable, or would you need to know more about the data to make an assumption like that? I suppose not, as likely a significant number of those 1-4 year olds were improperly restrained or boostered too early...just pondering.

I wish there was more recent info about FF and RF than that one from 2003. Restraints have changed so much since then.
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The stats given are talking about benefits to *proper use.* I think it is fairly safe to say that the under 1's exhibiting proper use were RF, and that most of the 1-4's exhibiting proper use were FF, though I suppose a token number might have been RF, and some/all of the 4's could have been boostered and still considered to be exhibiting proper use.

As for reducing fatal injury by (for example) 71%, I'd interpret that as follows. If 1000 improperly restrained infants are in accidents and 100 of them die, then you would expect a 71% reduction in fatalities if they had been properly restrained. So if 1000 properly restrained infants were in those same accidents, you would expect 29 of them to die (71% less than 100). So essentially the death rate (in this example) goes from 10% to 2.9%. If the actual death rate for improperly restrained infants was 20%, then the death rate for properly restrained infants would be 5.8% (71% less), and so on. Does that make sense?

Since the quoted excerpt only compares statistics for properly vs. improperly restrained, you can draw no conclusions about RF vs. FF. Though if other parts of the article mention the actual death rates in each age group, you might be able to say more, BUT keep in mind that even the difference in age could be what is causing a difference in death/injury rates, not just the direction the seat is facing.

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