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Accuracy of medical and ambulance record restraint and crash data information for child occupants
  1. L E Bilston,
  2. J Brown
  1. Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, University of NSW, Randwick, NSW, Australia;
  1. Associate Professor Lynne Bilston, Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, University of NSW, Barker St, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia; L.Bilston{at}


Objective: To correlate the accuracy of information on children’s restraint usage and crash characteristics recorded with medical data using in-depth crash investigation. Restraint and crash information within the medical and ambulance records is often available, but information on the accuracy of this data is limited.

Methods: Comparison of restraint and crash characteristic data from medical and ambulance records with that obtained from in-depth crash investigation studies, for a case series of child occupants aged 2–8 years involved in motor vehicle crashes.

Results: When restraint type, seating position, impact severity, and impact direction data were recorded in either the medical record or ambulance records, it tended to be at least partially correct. However, incompleteness or absence of specifics of restraint use and crash information in the medical record (7–17%) was common. Ambulance records were often not available (39%), but this data was more often complete (78–100%) and accurate (52–89%), when available, possibly due to the use of a standardized pro-forma.

Conclusions: Ambulance and hospital records data can provide information on restraint type and usage for child occupants in motor vehicle crashes, as well as crash information. The use of a standardized pro-forma may encourage more complete and accurate reporting of restraint and crash data.

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • Funding: This research was supported in part by a research grant from the Motor Accidents Authority of NSW. Lynne Bilston is supported by an NH&MRC senior research fellowship.

  • Ethics approval: The study received approval from the Human Ethics Committees of the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and University of NSW.