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Directions in Highway Safety, Summer 2008 Cover Page Download Newsletter pdf
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Late Winter 2008 | Vol. 10 | No. 4

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Study Supports Medicaid Reimbursement for Car Seats

Flaura Winston and four other authors from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have published a study concluding that distributing car safety seats among economically disadvantaged children would be a smart investment of federal funds. The research, published in the journal Ambulatory Pediatrics, suggests this type of program could be as cost-effective as the long-running successful Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.

The study proposes a Child Restraint Systems (CRS) program that would provide access to child restraints and education through a physician's prescription. Parents of all newborns enrolled in a Medicaid-based CRS program at birth would receive a convertible (combined infant and toddler) safety seat and educational materials upon leaving the hospital. At age four, children would receive a booster seat to be used until about age eight. The net cost per beneficiary of the eight year program would be $32.

Study authors say this type of program would realize a substantial cost savings. For every 100,000 children served, there would be a $1 million reduction in medical costs, a gain of $100,000 in the cost of lost parental work and a $2.7 million reduction in future victim productivity costs.

Without the proposed program, injuries to children from vehicle crashes (per 100,000 children) would result in an estimated $4.2 million in medical costs, $350,000 in parental work loss and $8.3 million in reduced future victimproductivity.


The researchers hope the study will generate more interest among health care policymakers to consider child safety preventive care as a primary clinical strategy.

For more information about children and carseats, visit