Mapping Child Safety Seat Use in Cases of Fatal or Incapacitating Child Motor Vehicle Injury in Cook County, Illinois from 2011 to 2015


Child safety seat use reduces the risk of fatal injury by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers, yet more than one-third of child passengers killed in traffic crashes in the US are unrestrained. Nearly half (47%) of crash injuries occur within 5 miles of the injured person’s home. Mapping the location of motor vehicle crashes resulting in serious or fatal injury to unrestrained child passengers may pinpoint high-risk neighborhoods. Illinois Department of Transportation data were used to map crashes that resulted in a fatal or incapacitating injury to a child passenger (age 0 to 8) in Cook County, IL from 2011 to 2015. Maptitude® Geographic Information System (GIS) software was used to identify hot spots of unrestrained child passenger injury on the South Side and West Side of Chicago. Of 174 zip codes in Cook County, 3 zip codes on the South Side of Chicago (60620, 60621; 60628) accounted for 11% of the total unrestrained fatalities and incapacitating injuries among children. Results of this study reveal the feasibility of detecting geographic disparities in child passenger safety at the zip code and neighborhood level and indicate the potential for more targeted allocation of resources.

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Correspondence to Victoria A. Salow.

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The motor vehicle crash data referenced herein was provided by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Any conclusions drawn from analysis of the aforementioned data are the sole responsibility of the data recipient(s). Additionally, for coding years 2015 to present, the Bureau of Data Collection uses the exact latitude/longitude supplied by the investigating law enforcement agency to locate crashes. Therefore, location data may vary in previous years since data prior to 2015 was physically located by bureau personnel.

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Salow, V.A., Simon, N.E. & Sheehan, K. Mapping Child Safety Seat Use in Cases of Fatal or Incapacitating Child Motor Vehicle Injury in Cook County, Illinois from 2011 to 2015. J Community Health 44, 605–609 (2019).

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  • Injury prevention
  • Child passenger safety
  • Mapping
  • GIS