Factors associated with pediatric mortality from motor vehicle crashes in the United States: A state-based analysis

Document Type



General Surgery


Objective: To examine geographic variation in motor vehicle crash (MVC)-related pediatric mortality and identify state-level predictors of mortality.
Study design: Using the 2010-2014 Fatality Analysis Reporting System, we identified passengers <15 years of age involved in fatal MVCs, defined as crashes on US public roads with ≥1 death (adult or pediatric) within 30 days. We assessed passenger, driver, vehicle, crash, and state policy characteristics as factors potentially associated with MVC-related pediatric mortality. Our outcomes were age-adjusted, MVC-related mortality rate per 100 000 children and percentage of children who died of those in fatal MVCs. Unit of analysis was US state. We used multivariable linear regression to define state characteristics associated with higher levels of each outcome.
Results: Of 18 116 children in fatal MVCs, 15.9% died. The age-adjusted, MVC-related mortality rate per 100 000 children varied from 0.25 in Massachusetts to 3.23 in Mississippi (mean national rate of 0.94). Predictors of greater age-adjusted, MVC-related mortality rate per 100 000 children included greater percentage of children who were unrestrained or inappropriately restrained (P < .001) and greater percentage of crashes on rural roads (P = .016). Additionally, greater percentages of children died in states without red light camera legislation (P < .001). For 10% absolute improvement in appropriate child restraint use nationally, our risk-adjusted model predicted >1100 pediatric deaths averted over 5 years.
Conclusions: MVC-related pediatric mortality varied by state and was associated with restraint nonuse or misuse, rural roads, vehicle type, and red light camera policy. Revising state regulations and improving enforcement around these factors may prevent substantial pediatric mortality.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University

Publication (Name of Journal)

The Journal of Pediatrics