Automobiles – Occupant restraint systems; Child restraint systems in automobiles; Children – Wounds and injuries; Hispanic; Hispanic Americans; Male; Men; Motor vehicle restraint; Pediatric; Traffic accidents; Trauma


Child restraint reduces the severity of injuries in motor vehicle crashes. Racial/ethnic groups appear to have differing restraint use rates. The objective of this study was to identify restraint use differences between ethnic and other demographic subgroups of pediatric trauma patients. Prospective data were analyzed for 1072 consecutive pediatric patients aged 19 or less who were involved in motor vehicle crashes and brought to our Trauma Center over a 42 month period. The demographic breakdown of this study cohort was 55.3% male, 21.4% Hispanic, 9.7% African American, 64.5% Caucasian, 2.2% Asian and 2.2% other. The highest rates of restraint use (56.1%) were reported for children ages 0 to 3 years, and the lowest for those 12-15 years (p=.0001). Restraint use rates were lower among males than females (OR=0.72; 95% CI = 0.55, 0.93), and lower among Hispanic than non-Hispanic pediatric patients (OR=0.52; 95% CI = 0.37, 073). Restrained patients were more likely than unrestrained patients to be discharged to home. Restrained patients were less severely injured than unrestrained patients as measured by Revised Trauma Score, the Glasgow Coma Score, Injury Severity Score, ICU days and length of hospital stay. Low restraint use is associated with Hispanic ethnicity, male gender and the age group 12-15 years. Measures of injury severity consistently indicate more severe injuries among unrestrained than restrained patients.