February 13, 2007

One in three injury-related deaths among children due to motor vehicle crashes

Irvine, California – In the U.S. in 2005, 1,946 children age 14 or younger were killed riding as passengers in motor vehicle accidents, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that motor vehicle crashes account for one in three injury-related deaths among children. Further, it states that crash injuries are the leading cause of death among 5-12-year olds. The National Safe Kids Campaign says 75 percent of all crashes occur within 25 miles of home, and most of those take place on roads with maximum speed limits of 40 mph or less.

“Restraints help people and cars move together,” says Ingrid Skogsmo, Director of Safety for Volvo Car Corp. in Sweden. “A 60-pound, unbelted child in the back seat of a car traveling at a mere 50 km/h involved in a sudden collision can weigh as much as a young elephant — about 2,700 pounds. That means the child, during a frontal collision, can impact the windshield or the front seat occupant — with deadly force.”

“People are just full of reasons for not belting back seat passengers,” she added. “School’s just three minutes away, we’re just going to the grocery store or just over to friend’s house. We’re full of excuses but, in the end, if we don’t belt our children — or any rear seat occupant — we’re setting them up for injuries or death. ‘Sorry’ doesn’t go very far then.”

She reminds parents that small children who have outgrown their toddler seat should use a booster cushion to help properly position the three-point seat belt.

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