SUVs No Safer than Passenger Cars for Children, New Study Finds

Partners for Child Passenger Safety evidence points to need for improved child

occupant protection in rollover crashes



Jan 03, 2006, 00:00 ET from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

    PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- New research from The Children's
 Hospital of Philadelphia, shows that children riding in SUVs have similar
 injury risks to children who ride in passenger cars.  The study, published
 today in the journal Pediatrics, found that an SUV's increased risk of rolling
 over during a crash offset the safety benefits associated with larger,
 heavier-weight vehicles.
     The study, part of an on-going research collaboration of Children's
 Hospital and State Farm Insurance Companies, looked at crashes reported to
 State Farm involving 3,933 child occupants between the ages of 0 and 15 years
 who were in either SUVs or passenger cars that were model year 1998 or newer.
 Rollover contributes significantly to risk of injury in both vehicle types and
 occurred twice as frequently in SUVs. Children involved in rollover crashes
 were three times more likely to be injured than children in non-rollovers.
     Children who were not properly restrained in a car seat, booster seat or
 seatbelt during an SUV rollover were at a 25-fold greater risk for injury as
 compared to appropriately restrained children. Nearly half of the unrestrained
 children in these crashes (41 percent) suffered a serious injury versus only
 three percent of appropriately restrained children in SUV's. Overall, injury
 risk for appropriately restrained children in passenger cars is less than 2
 percent.
     "SUVs are becoming more popular as family vehicles because they can
 accommodate multiple child safety seats and their larger size may lead parents
 to believe SUVs are safer than passenger cars," said Dennis Durbin, MD,
 M.S.C.E., an emergency physician and clinical epidemiologist at The Children's
 Hospital, and co-author on the study. "However, people who use an SUV as their
 family vehicle should know that SUV's do not provide superior protection for
 child occupants and that age- and size-appropriate restraints and rear seating
 for children under 13 years are critically important because of the increased
 risk of a rollover crash."
     In the 2005 Partners for Child Passenger Safety Fact and Trend Report,
 Children's Hospital reported that SUVs in child-involved State Farm crashes
 increased from 15 percent in 1999 to 26 percent in 2004, while the percentage
 of passenger cars decreased from a high of 54 percent in 1999 to 43 percent in
 2004.  There was no or little growth in the percentage of minivans in the
 study population -- 24 percent in 2004.
     "We want parents to be able to make fully informed decisions regarding the
 choice of vehicle for their family," says Lauren Daly, MD, co-author of the
 study. "Ideally, a safe family car has enough rear-row seating positions with
 lap-and-shoulder belts for every child under 13 that requires them and enough
 remaining rear-row positions to install child safety seats for infants and
 toddlers."
     Previous Children's Hospital research has shown that, within each vehicle
 classification, larger heavier vehicles are generally safer. For instance, of
 all passenger car classifications, large and luxury cars feature lower child
 injury risk than mid-size or small passenger cars. Among SUVs, mid-size and
 small SUVs had similar injury risks, which were two times higher than large
 SUVs.  Compact extended-cab pickup trucks present a unique risk to children-
 child occupants in the rear row of compact extended cab pick-ups face a five-
 fold increased risk of injury in a crash as compared to rear-seated children
 in all other vehicle types.
     Parents who are unsure of how to choose and install car safety seats or
 booster seats can visit http://www.chop.edu/carseat to find educational videos
 and information, or they can locate a certified child passenger safety
 technician in their community who will teach them how to install the seat
 properly.
 
     About Partners for Child Passenger Safety
     Partners for Child Passenger Safety (PCPS) is a research collaboration
 between The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm. As of February
 2005, PCPS has created a database containing information on more than 377,000
 crashes involving more than 557,000 children from birth through age 15 years.
 It is the world's largest study of children in motor vehicle crashes.
 
     About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
     The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the
 nation's first pediatric hospital.  Through its long-standing commitment to
 providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric
 healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's
 Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide.
 Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking
 second in National Institutes of Health funding.  In addition, its unique
 family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 430-bed
 hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents.  For
 more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.
 
     About State Farm(R)
     State Farm(R) insures more cars than any other insurer in North America
 and is the leading U.S. home insurer. State Farm's 17,000 agents and 69,000
 employees serve nearly 73 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the
 United States and Canada. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is
 the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No.19
 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please
 visit statefarm.com(R) or in Canada statefarm.ca(TM).
 
     Contact: Dana Mortensen
              267-426-6092
              mortensen@email.chop.edu
 
 

SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
    PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- New research from The Children's
 Hospital of Philadelphia, shows that children riding in SUVs have similar
 injury risks to children who ride in passenger cars.  The study, published
 today in the journal Pediatrics, found that an SUV's increased risk of rolling
 over during a crash offset the safety benefits associated with larger,
 heavier-weight vehicles.
     The study, part of an on-going research collaboration of Children's
 Hospital and State Farm Insurance Companies, looked at crashes reported to
 State Farm involving 3,933 child occupants between the ages of 0 and 15 years
 who were in either SUVs or passenger cars that were model year 1998 or newer.
 Rollover contributes significantly to risk of injury in both vehicle types and
 occurred twice as frequently in SUVs. Children involved in rollover crashes
 were three times more likely to be injured than children in non-rollovers.
     Children who were not properly restrained in a car seat, booster seat or
 seatbelt during an SUV rollover were at a 25-fold greater risk for injury as
 compared to appropriately restrained children. Nearly half of the unrestrained
 children in these crashes (41 percent) suffered a serious injury versus only
 three percent of appropriately restrained children in SUV's. Overall, injury
 risk for appropriately restrained children in passenger cars is less than 2
 percent.
     "SUVs are becoming more popular as family vehicles because they can
 accommodate multiple child safety seats and their larger size may lead parents
 to believe SUVs are safer than passenger cars," said Dennis Durbin, MD,
 M.S.C.E., an emergency physician and clinical epidemiologist at The Children's
 Hospital, and co-author on the study. "However, people who use an SUV as their
 family vehicle should know that SUV's do not provide superior protection for
 child occupants and that age- and size-appropriate restraints and rear seating
 for children under 13 years are critically important because of the increased
 risk of a rollover crash."
     In the 2005 Partners for Child Passenger Safety Fact and Trend Report,
 Children's Hospital reported that SUVs in child-involved State Farm crashes
 increased from 15 percent in 1999 to 26 percent in 2004, while the percentage
 of passenger cars decreased from a high of 54 percent in 1999 to 43 percent in
 2004.  There was no or little growth in the percentage of minivans in the
 study population -- 24 percent in 2004.
     "We want parents to be able to make fully informed decisions regarding the
 choice of vehicle for their family," says Lauren Daly, MD, co-author of the
 study. "Ideally, a safe family car has enough rear-row seating positions with
 lap-and-shoulder belts for every child under 13 that requires them and enough
 remaining rear-row positions to install child safety seats for infants and
 toddlers."
     Previous Children's Hospital research has shown that, within each vehicle
 classification, larger heavier vehicles are generally safer. For instance, of
 all passenger car classifications, large and luxury cars feature lower child
 injury risk than mid-size or small passenger cars. Among SUVs, mid-size and
 small SUVs had similar injury risks, which were two times higher than large
 SUVs.  Compact extended-cab pickup trucks present a unique risk to children-
 child occupants in the rear row of compact extended cab pick-ups face a five-
 fold increased risk of injury in a crash as compared to rear-seated children
 in all other vehicle types.
     Parents who are unsure of how to choose and install car safety seats or
 booster seats can visit http://www.chop.edu/carseat to find educational videos
 and information, or they can locate a certified child passenger safety
 technician in their community who will teach them how to install the seat
 properly.
 
     About Partners for Child Passenger Safety
     Partners for Child Passenger Safety (PCPS) is a research collaboration
 between The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm. As of February
 2005, PCPS has created a database containing information on more than 377,000
 crashes involving more than 557,000 children from birth through age 15 years.
 It is the world's largest study of children in motor vehicle crashes.
 
     About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
     The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the
 nation's first pediatric hospital.  Through its long-standing commitment to
 providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric
 healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's
 Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide.
 Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking
 second in National Institutes of Health funding.  In addition, its unique
 family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 430-bed
 hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents.  For
 more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.
 
     About State Farm(R)
     State Farm(R) insures more cars than any other insurer in North America
 and is the leading U.S. home insurer. State Farm's 17,000 agents and 69,000
 employees serve nearly 73 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the
 United States and Canada. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is
 the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No.19
 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please
 visit statefarm.com(R) or in Canada statefarm.ca(TM).
 
     Contact: Dana Mortensen
              267-426-6092
              mortensen@email.chop.edu
 
 SOURCE  The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia