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Child passenger safety practices and injury risk in crashes with father versus mother drivers


In order to test stereotypes that mothers are more safety conscious than fathers, this study aimed to explore differences in restraint patterns, front-row seating and injury for children in crashes when driven by fathers versus mothers, both when driving alone and with other adults. From 15 January 2003 to 30 November 2007, data were collected via insurance claims records and telephone surveys on a weighted sample of 10 715 child passengers in crashes. When riding with children and no other adults, father drivers in crashes were more likely than mother drivers to transport children <9 years old unrestrained or suboptimally restrained (35.0% vs 26.1%, p=0.001) and to seat children <13 years old in the front row (23.7% vs 14.3%, p<0.001). For children <16 years, no statistically significant difference in injury risk was noted for father versus mother drivers, regardless of adult passenger presence. Further improvements in child passenger safety might be gained with campaigns directed at both fathers and mothers.

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