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Ann Adv Automot Med. 2010;54:193-9.

The association of weight percentile and motor vehicle crash injury among 3 to 8 year old children.

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Division of Emergency Medicine and Center for Injury Research and Prevention, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.


The use of age-appropriate child restraint systems significantly reduces injury and death associated with motor vehicle crashes (MVCs). Pediatric obesity has become a global epidemic. Although recent evidence suggests a possible association between pediatric obesity and MVC-related injury, there are potential misclassifications of body mass index from under-estimated height in younger children. Given this limitation, age- and sex-specific weight percentiles can be used as a proxy of weight status. The specific aim of this study was to determine the association between weight percentile and the risk of significant injury for children 3-8 years in MVCs. This was a cross-sectional study of children aged 3-8 years in MVCs in 16 US states, with data collected via insurance claims records and a telephone survey from 12/1/98-11/30/07. Parent-reported injuries with an abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) score of 2+ indicated a clinically significant injury. Age- and sex-specific weight percentiles were calculated using pediatric norms. The study sample included 9,327 children aged 3-8 years (weighted to represent 157,878 children), of which 0.96% sustained clinically significant injuries. There was no association between weight percentiles and overall injury when adjusting for restraint type (p=0.71). However, increasing weight percentiles were associated with lower extremity injuries at a level that approached significance (p=0.053). Further research is necessary to describe mechanisms for weight-related differences in injury risk. Parents should continue to properly restrain their children in accordance with published guidelines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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