June 1983

Effects of a Seat Belt Law on Child Restraint Use

Author Affiliations

From the Community Pediatric Research Program, Montreal Children's Hospital (Ms Stulginskas and Dr Pless), and the Department of Pediatrics and Epidemiology, McGill University, Montreal (Dr Pless).

Am J Dis Child. 1983;137(6):582-585. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1983.02140320058013

• Automobile passenger fatalities account for almost 25% of all accidental deaths of children aged 1 to 14 years. Given that child automobile restraint devices provide effective protection against serious injury and death, several jurisdictions have adopted some form of child restraint law. In August 1976, Quebec enacted legislation requiring the use of seat belts by all front seat passengers weighing more than 23 kg. Although the law was chiefly aimed at adults, a series of observations extending throughout six years were performed to assess its impact on children. Prelaw rates showed 6.4% restraint use for children aged 0 to 11 years and 14.7% for drivers. In the year after legislation, rates for both drivers and children more than doubled and had increased to 55.5% and 24.5%, respectively, in 1981. The child's age and parent's use of a seat belt were important factors associated with restraint use among children.

(Am J Dis Child 1983;137:582-585)