According to data collected by the Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 127 children and youth, aged 19 years or less, were killed in while riding in the back of pickup trucks.1 Approximately 1000 more are injured yearly. The Committee is concerned about this largely preventable means of injury to children.
There are relatively few published data specifically dealing with the risk to children riding in the beds of pickup and other single-unit trucks. Data from studies of fatalities resulting from falls and jumps from motor vehicles indicate that these events are more likely to occur in persons riding in exterior locations, especially in the beds of pickup and single-unit trucks. Young people between the ages of 10 and 19 years represent more than half of the deaths occurring to people traveling in truck beds; males predominate. Most noncollision deaths are caused by falls; such falls occur because of the actions of vehicles such as swerving, braking, or traveling over rough roads. About one third of the time the person killed was standing up, sitting on the tailgate, changing positions, or involved in horseplay or fighting.2,3 Ejections during collision and rollovers are associated with the highest incidence of injury and death.4
Studies of children injured in noncrash motor vehicle injury events have shown that ejection from the vehicle contributes greatly to the seriousness of the injuries sustained. One such study revealed that half of the noncrash injuries to children occurred as a result of ejections or falls from the vehicle, and that children who were ejected or fell were four times as likely as those who were not ejected to be riding on the exterior of the vehicle.
- Copyright © 1991 by the American Academy of Pediatrics