Report: Proper Use of Safety Seats, Restraints, Could Save Thousands of Kids

By Currie, Donya | The Nation's Health, April 2014 | Go to article overview

Report: Proper Use of Safety Seats, Restraints, Could Save Thousands of Kids


Currie, Donya, The Nation's Health


Report: Proper use of safety seats, restraints, could save thousands of kids

Published as a Vital Signs report in a February issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the study found motor vehicle crash deaths among children 12 and younger were down by 43 percent in the past decade. Yet 9,300 children still died in crashes in 2002-2011.

Overall, one in three children who died in 2011 crashes were not properly restrained in a child safety seat or seat belt. In 2009- 2010, 26 percent of white children and almost half of all black and Hispanic children who died in crashes were not buckled up.

"No child should die in a motor vehicle crash because they were not properly buckled up, and yet, sadly, it happens hundreds of times each year in the U.S.," said Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Many of these tragedies are preventable when parents use age- and size-appropriate child restraints every time their child rides in a motor vehicle."

The study also found younger children are more likely to be properly buckled up than older children. In 2011, one-fourth of infants younger than 1 were improperly restrained, compared to a third of children ages 1-7 and 45 percent of children ages 8-12.

Public health professionals should advocate for laws that help protect children's safety, according to the report. It cited a 2013 study that found that in five states that increased the required car seat or booster seat age to 7 or 8, such use tripled, while deaths and serious injuries dropped by 17 percent.

"Parents and caregivers play an important role in keeping children safe in the car," said Daniel Sosin, MD, MPH, FACP, acting director of CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. "Children often imitate their parents, so it's important that parents model safe behavior and buckle up on every trip. Parents also should always buckle children in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats and seat belts."

The Vital Signs report included a summary of those recommendations, such as placing infants in rear-facing safety seats and having children ages 12 and younger ride in the back seat. Also, the report gave recommendations for states and communities to follow to decrease child passenger deaths in motor vehicle crashes, including laws requiring car seat or booster seat use through age 8 and car seat and booster seat give-away programs that include education for parents and caregivers. …

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