National Child Passenger Safety Week Begins Today

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reminding the public that National Child Passenger Safety Week, which highlights the importance of the correct installation and use of child restraints, starts today and continues through Sept. 18. In 2007, a total of 606 children aged eight years or younger died and approximately 75,000 were treated in emergency departments for occupant injuries sustained in motor-vehicle crashes in the United States.

According to CDC, the use of booster seats has been found to reduce the risk for injury by 59 percent in children aged 4-7 years old, compared with use of adult seat belts alone.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and CDC recommend placing infants and children in age-, weight-, and height-appropriate child restraints until they are aged eight years of age or older, or are 57 inches tall, at which time they can use adult seat belts.

Although no recent data are available on consistent compliance with this recommendation during a specified period, an older study--CDC's Second Injury Control and Risk Survey (ICARIS-2), a national, cross-sectional, random-digit-dial telephone survey conducted July 2001-February 2003--found that 46 percent of parents of children aged 4-7 years old reported their children had used adult seat belts all of the time during the preceding 30 days.

Although the use of child restraints is mandatory in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the age at which children can transition to adult safety belts varies by state. Twenty-three states allow children to use adult seat belts by age sevens, with four states allowing adult seat belt use for children at age five, and one state allowing adult seat belt use for children aged four years.

Information about National Child Passenger Safety Week activities and child passenger safety is available from NHTSA at www.nhtsa.gov/cps and from CDC at www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/child_passenger_safety/childseat-spot.html.

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