CR 107: The Child in the Centre Seat (1992)

Lap belts, fitted to centre seats of Australian cars for the past fifteen years, have come under criticism as being injurious to children. The weight of evidence is that they provide substantial protection, though less than three point belts. A specific injury, the seat bell syndrome (SBS), to abdominal viscera and/or lumbar spine, has been associated with lap belts, an association confirmed by two studies in Melbourne. The incidence of SBS was calculated from Transport Accident Commission claims. The centre rear seat (lap belt) carried three times the risk of SBS as outboad rear seats (three point belts) whlch in turn have 2.1 times the risk of the outboard front seat. The number of SBS cases in Victoria has increased with penemlion of the fleet by post 1971 cars. The annual estimated number of cases, for 1987, is 186 adults and ten children. Suggestions are made for improvements on the restraint system.

Type: Research and Analysis Report

Sub Type: Consultant Report

Author(s): John Lane, MUARC

Topics: Child, Occ protection, Seat belts

Publication Date: 01/03/92