Research funded by multiple prestigious scientific, industry, engineering, insurance, and business firms has allowed a team to analyze huge amounts of data on the occurrence of cervical spine injuries in children in car crashes. The researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Ohio State University Medical Center studied data on over 6000 children under the age of 16. They found that less than 3% of the fatalities they studied were accompanied by a cervical spine injury.
The scientists found that cervical spine injuries did not occur more in fatal accidents than in non-fatal ones. The study, published in the most recent issue of Injury, did not reveal any correlations between cervical spine injuries and the types of cars involved in the accident data they studied. They also did not find any links between the types or speeds of accidents and incidence of spinal injury.
The data for this study came from two national mortality databases known as FARS (Fatality Analysis Reporting System), and the MCOD (Multiple Cause-of-Death) database. These two databases, maintained by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and the Centers for Disease Control respectively, enabled doctors and researchers to compare and contrast the occurrences of cervical spine injury against multiple variables such as type of car, type of accident, age and weight of child, and more.
The occurrence of cervical spine injury in accidents overall was rare, but when it did occur, scientists found a higher incidence of fatal cervical spine injury in children who were wearing seatbelts, girl children, and those who also suffered from traumatic brain injury in the accident. The rest of the data showed that seatbelts and child restraints did in fact greatly reduce the risk of death and serious injury, even in light of the few cases in which seatbelts correlated with fatal spinal injuries.
The Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies, which is focused solely on pediatric injury prevention, funded the study with help from many member organizations including, Britax Child Safety Inc., Dorel Juvenile Group Inc., Ford Motor Company, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Nissan Technical Center North America, Inc., State Farm Insurance Companies, TK Holdings Inc., Toyota Motor North America Inc. and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.
The study marks the first time a team of researchers has made use of two independent databases for the sake of comparing and contrasting data between them to demonstrate factual findings about child injury prevention. The researchers and funding groups hope to create more accurate and lifelike pediatric crash-test-dummies, and to assist automobile manufacturers in raising their standards for accident and injury prevention.
(Pic from mattimattila)