Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Policy & Administration

First Advisor

Carl Ameringer


In 2002, Virginia increased the age that children needed to be restrained in a child safety seat from age three to age five. Employing a pre and post intervention analysis, this study evaluated the 2002 Virginia child safety restraint law and determined if the number and severity of motor vehicle crash injuries to children ages four and five changed significantly post-law. Two groups of children, children under age four and children ages six and seven, were utilized as control groups. Motor vehicle crash injury and death data from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles police crash report file, Virginia Health Information hospital discharge database, and the Virginia Department of Health death database from January 1, 1995 through June 30, 2007 were analyzed. Only select motor vehicle crash e-codes were included in the analyses. An independent samples t-test was conducted and rate per 100,000 was calculated for each age group to determine if there was an effect on the numbers of injuries, fatalities, and injury severity post-law. A significant decrease of injuries and mild and moderate injury severity in the target group and both control groups post-law was found. The target group had the greatest reduction post-law. The 2002 law, along with the interaction of concurrent events and initiatives and possibly spillover effect, may explain why all groups, saw significant reductions post-law. The possibility that education, federal initiatives, enforcement, engineering, public policy changes, and/or enhancements in the medical system may have played a role in the findings is explored. Future research on motor vehicle crash injuries is recommended if statewide emergency room, urgent care center, or physician office data are ever collected. Also, Virginia amended their child passenger safety law in 2007. The 2007 law required children through the age of seven to be properly secured in a child safety restraint. An analysis of the 2007 law would determine if the two year increase in age had an effect on injuries and fatalities of children when involved in a motor vehicle crash.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

April 2009