A study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at CHOP found no association between children's weight and their risk of crash-related injury when seated in an appropriate child safety seat or belt-positioning booster seat. The findings, published online in the December 2011 issue of Pediatrics, were based on an analysis of nearly 1,000 1- to 8-year-old children involved in crashes and suggest that children, regardless of their weight, are optimally protected in a crash as long as they are restrained according to the most recent recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

"Given that nearly 32 percent of children in the United States are categorized as overweight or obese, and motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for all children, we wanted to better understand how these two threats to children's health interact," says lead author Mark Zonfrillo, MD, MSCE, an attending emergency physician at CHOP, an investigator with CIRP’s Epidemiology team, and an associate professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

The paper’s results also reinforce the important role pediatricians and family physicians play in making sure their patients are well-protected in vehicles. During each visit where height and weight are evaluated, they should counsel parents to check their child's measurements against their child's safety seat and to refer them to www.chop.edu/carseat and their local certified child passenger safety technicians for more information and guidance.