NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Evidence that Seat Belts are as Effective as Child Safety Seats in Preventing Death for Children Aged Two and Up

Steven D. Levitt

NBER Working Paper No. 11591
Issued in September 2005
NBER Program(s):   CH   LE   PE

Over the last thirty years, the use of child safety seats in motor vehicles has increased dramatically, fueled by well publicized information campaigns and legal mandates. In spite of this movement, there is relatively little empirical evidence regarding the efficacy of child safety seats relative to the much cheaper alternative of traditional seat belts. Using data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) on all fatal crashes in the United States from 1975-2003, I find that child safety seats, in actual practice, are no better than seat belts at reducing fatalities among children aged 2-6. This result is robust to a wide range of sensitivity analyses, including controlling for sample selection that arises because the FARS data set includes only crashes in which at least one fatality occurs.

download in pdf format
   (498 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (498 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11591

Published: Steven D. Levitt, 2008. "Evidence that Seat Belts Are as Effective as Child Safety Seats in Preventing Death for Children Aged Two and Up," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 158-163, 07. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Levitt and Doyle w12519 Evaluating the Effectiveness of Child Safety Seats and Seat Belts in Protecting Children from Injury
Carpenter and Stehr w13408 The Effects of Mandatory Seatbelt Laws on Seatbelt Use, Motor Vehicle Fatalities, and Crash-Related Injuries among Youths
Levitt and Porter w7210 Sample Selection in the Estimation of Air Bag and Seat Belt Effectiveness
Sacerdote w7469 Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates
Levitt and Miles w17023 The Role of Skill Versus Luck in Poker: Evidence from the World Series of Poker
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us