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One-third of children not safely strapped into car seats, says study
10.08.2012According to research presented at a seminar for motor vehicle accidents, almost 40 percent of children in Norway are usually either not wearing their seat belt, or are incorrectly strapped into their booster chair. In addition, almost 25 percent of the latter group would require immediate care from emergency department physicians if they got into an accident, due to the the sloppiness and unsafeness of their seating situation.
"We see that adults want to use the equipment to protect their children, but they may lack knowledge of what can go wrong if they do not use the equipment properly," said Marianne Skjerven-Martinsen from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health's Division of Forensic Medicine and Drug abuse Research. "The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of incorrect child restraint in the car, according to the child's height, age and type of equipment. Thus we can give advice to parents, authorities and especially to industry on how to avoid incorrect restraint."
The Norwegian researchers say car accidents are the leading cause of child death in their nation. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that the problem is about as prevalent in the U.S.
According to the agency, proper positioning in a car seat reduces the chances of motor vehicle-related infant death by more than 70 percent, and lowers the odds of a similar fate befalling toddlers by more than 50 percent. The CDC also draws a correlation between driver's reverence for seat belt safety and proper car seat use. Estimates show that 40 percent of kids who were improperly strapped to their car seats were passengers of adults who neglected to wear seat belts.
Government agency gives tips for safe driving with kids
In September of 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a list of statistics to help keep children in car seats better protected from needing urgent medical care following traffic accidents. The government organization says that 20 percent of parents neglect to read instructions for proper use after purchasing a car seat for their offspring.
In addition, the NHTSA noted the five most common mistakes parents make when strapping their kids in for a car trip. These include applying a harness to an incorrect slot, clipping the chest harnesses across their child's stomach, not strapping seats and harnesses securely enough, and placing seat belts in ways that wouldn't be effective in an accident.
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