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NHTSA Implores Parents to Use Child Seats and Seat Belts to Reduce Death Rates

NHTSA Implores Parents to Use Child Seats and Seat Belts to Reduce Death Rates

By Jeff Youngs, September 26, 2013
Car crashes remain one of the leading causes of death for children in the United States, and while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) acknowledges that the use of child safety restraints has saved approximately 10,000 children under the age of 5 between 1975 and 2011, the federal agency also finds that even more lives could be saved if parents consistently used child safety seats, child booster seats, and seat belts.

"Regardless of the size of the vehicle, the age of the child or the length of the trip, children should always be properly restrained in a car seat, booster or seat belt," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "Car seats, when correctly installed and used, provide proven life-saving and injury-reducing benefits for child passengers."

According to the NHTSA, each day in 2011, an average of two children under the age of 13 lost their lives while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups, and vans. The NHTSA says that of those children killed in car accidents, more than a third of them were riding unrestrained by a child seat, booster seat, or a seat belt. Based on the data, a greater percentage of unrestrained children are killed in crashes of SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans than in passenger cars.

"Safety is our top priority, particularly when it comes to protecting our children," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "Parents and caregivers can be the first line of defense by ensuring their children are correctly secured in the right seat for their size and age."

Foxx also says that parents must also buckle up to set a good example for children. The NHTSA data finds that unbuckled adults are more likely to have unrestrained children inside of a vehicle.

Additional tips include buying a child safety seat or a booster seat that is properly configured for a child's age and size, reading the instructions for the child restraint and for the vehicle into which it will be installed, using the vehicle's Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system and/or seat belts to properly secure the seat, and to have the car seat installation checked at a local car seat inspection station.

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