Children and Auto Accidents - Are seat belts to blame?
Nearly 500 children between the ages of five and nine are killed each year in auto accidents, and over 100,000 are injured due to improper seat belt use.
“Nearly 500 children between the ages of five and nine are killed each year in auto accidents, and over 100,000 are injured due to improper seat belt use,” says Judith Lee Stone, president for Advocates for Highway Safety.Statistics
Statistics from the Advocates for Highway Safety, a nonprofit highway safety group, and the Child Passenger Safety Study, a joint venture among State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and the University of Pennsylvania, show that children under the age of 10 are most susceptible to injury in car accidents because they are wearing adult seat belts when they should in fact still be in child safety seats.
The Child Passenger Safety Study found that more than 80% of children between the ages of four and eight are properly restrained. However, 40% of children between the ages of one and two and 20% of children between the ages of nine and 15 are not properly restrained. “With these kinds of statistics, something needs to be done,” notes Stone.A Call for Change!
Stone believes there should be state and federal requirements on the use of booster seats, which provide a “platform” that lifts the child up from the seat and allows the seatbelt to fit properly. This would allow children who are too big for toddler restraints, but too small for adult safety belts, to ride safely. Washington, Arkansas and California have already implemented a booster seat law, requiring children under the age of six or 60 pounds, to use a booster seat. “Fifteen to twenty other states are considering the same act,” says Stone.
Tim Hurd, a spokesperson for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation (TREAD) Act, enacted on November 1, 2000, addresses the need for booster seats. He believes booster seats are the primary way to curb death and injuries for those in the four-to-eight year old age group.
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