OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to provide an updated estimate of the effectiveness of belt-positioning booster (BPB) seats compared with seat belts alone in reducing the risk for injury for children aged 4 to 8 years.

METHODS: Data were collected from a longitudinal study of children who were involved in crashes in 16 states and the District of Columbia from December 1, 1998, to November 30, 2007, with data collected via insurance claims records and a validated telephone survey. The study sample included children who were aged 4 to 8 years, seated in the rear rows of the vehicle, and restrained by either a seat belt or a BPB seat. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the odds of injury for those in BPB seats versus those in seat belts. Effects of crash direction and booster seat type were also explored.

RESULTS: Complete interview data were obtained on 7151 children in 6591 crashes representing an estimated 120646 children in 116503 crashes in the study population. The adjusted relative risk for injury to children in BPB seats compared with those in seat belts was 0.55.

CONCLUSIONS: This study reconfirms previous reports that BPB seats reduce the risk for injury in children aged 4 through 8 years. On the basis of these analyses, parents, pediatricians, and health educators should continue to recommend as best practice the use of BPB seats once a child outgrows a harness-based child restraint until he or she is at least 8 years of age.

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