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Study Says Kids Out of Car Seats or Seat Belts Likely to Suffer Fatal Crash Injuries.

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You may have arrived at the park or the grocery store to find that your child had unbuckled his belt or wiggled out of his car seat. If you were thankful that nothing happened on that trip, consider this: many parents across the U.S. allow their children to ride without seat belts—and even allow infants to ride without car seats.

Children Still the Highest Risk Group for Fatal Car Crashes

According to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lack of seat belt use among children was not only widespread, it was likely to result in the child’s death in the event of an accident:

  • Of roughly 9,000 children who died in car crashes between 2001 and 2011, 3000 were not restrained by a seat belt, car seat, or booster seat.
  • Socioeconomic status played a significant role in seat belt use. While 26 percent of white children who were killed in crashes were unrestrained, that number was nearly doubled for African-American children and Hispanic children.
  • In response to the study, CDC officials are recommending that more states pass laws that make car seat use mandatory through the age of eight, as well as programs that give away free car seats.

Are Children of New Jersey Drivers at Risk?

Although the study found a worrying trend in child seat use, the good news is that driving conditions have become safer. The national death rate among children in car crashes dropped by over 40 percent in the decade leading up to 2011, likely because of technological improvements in automobiles and safety improvements in car seats.

However, these advances can only protect children if parents use them every day, for every trip. Parents who don’t use seat belts encourage children to follow their example. Make sure you always fasten your own seat belt every time you ride or drive, and check to make sure your young children and teenagers do the same.

What is the biggest problem contributing to unbuckled children in the back seat? Is it short trips, stubbornness, or babysitters who aren’t paying attention? Leave us a comment below to tell us why you think children are most at risk.

Category: Car Accidents

Manfred Ricciardelli
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