Thursday, October 02, 2008

I'm a mean actuary

I hope the numbers in this article are wrong. Because if not, the booster seat industry is a big scam.

“About 350 children ages 4-7 die in crashes each year in the United States.... Because half of the fatally injured children in this age group ride unrestrained, the first step is to get them belted.”

So 175 kids wearing seat belts or in carseats/ booster seats die each year.

“A 2006 study by the same authors found that boosters reduce fatality risk among booster-age children by about 28 percent compared with belts alone.”

Let’s pretend none of those 175 were in boosters, so the 28% risk reduction is obtained by all of these kids. That would mean 49 fewer children would die per year if the kids who use seat belts start using boosters.

If we pretend the unrestrained kids started buckling up, boosters would prevent an addition 49 deaths. So we’d be up to 98 fewer deaths per year if every one of the 16 million children aged 4-7 in America used a booster seat. The cheapest booster seat costs about $20. That’s a lot of money for preventing 98 deaths. Worth it, yes, if your kid would be one of them- but imagine if all that money went to, say, children’s health care! Or perhaps promoting public transportation, which would reduce fatalities among all age groups....

1 comment:

Karin said...

Were there any study done on the kids in boosters who died? I've read that many of those who are injured or die in boosters/car seats were improperly secured. Like kids who are strapped in too loosely, so they come partially out in an accident. Or a child in the wrong size restraint, etc.

I wonder if it's possible to have car safety devices AND better, universal health care. Nah, probably not.