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Summer Vacation and Child Safety – June 21, 2013

With summer vacation upon us and family driving outings more likely, now is a good time to re-emphasize child vehicle safety.  Twenty percent of our total U.S. population is our children, ages 14 and younger.  Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children at age 4, and ages 11 through 14, according to statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics.   

In 2011 there were a total of 32,367 traffic deaths in the United States, with children under 14 accounting for 1,140 of those tragic fatalities, along with 171,000 vehicle accident injuries suffered by children under 14. Every day in the United States an average of 3 children under 14 are killed and another 469 injured, in motor vehicle accidents.

So what can we do to help reduce those tragic outcomes?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration once again points to the effectiveness of proper child restraint use. Their research has shown that proper and consistent use of lap/shoulder belts reduce the risk of fatal injuries to front seat occupants by forty-five percent and moderate to critical injury by fifty percent.  In light trucks this increases to sixty and sixty-five percent respectively.

Of the children fatally injured in 2011, 41 percent were unrestrained. Remarkably, according to crash reports, 20% of the total number of children involved in vehicle crashes in 2011 were traveling unrestrained.  

It is well established that the use of child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by seventy one percent for infants and fifty four percent for toddlers in passenger cars.  Yet,  as adults we often think that “it’s only a short trip, “ or “it won’t happen to me.”

We have written on this blog repeatedly about the simple and highly effective use of seat belts, child safety seats and other vehicle restraints.  

Please be safe when traveling with your family this summer – buckle up!

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