percent of children in the survey were in
the wrong restraint for their size and age.
half of parents are making major mistakes when
it comes to protecting their children in motor
vehicles. In the largest interactive, observational
survey of child restraint use in America, the
National SAFE KIDS Campaign found that 33% of
children ages 14 and under were riding in the
wrong restraint type for their age and size. In
addition, 14% of the children observed were riding
completely unbuckled. Older children were more
likely to be both unrestrained and in the wrong
SAFE KIDS report, Child Passengers at Risk in
America: A National Study of Restraint Use, is
based on observations of 9,332 children traveling
in 6,297 vehicles. Data were collected at 174
sites in 48 states and the District of Columbia
between November 2001 and January 2002.
(3,042) of children were in the wrong restraint
for their size and age.
63% (1,626) of kids who should have been in belt-positioning
booster seats (typically ages 4 to 8) were inappropriately
(1,295) of children were riding completely unrestrained.
24% (284) of kids ages 10-14, and 20% of kids
ages 5-9 were riding completely unrestrained
KIDS also found that driver safety belt use oftentimes
dictates child restraint use. Nearly 40% (923)
of children riding with unbelted drivers were
completely unrestrained, compared to only 5% (355)
of children riding with drivers in safety belts.
serious consequences of children riding in the
wrong restraint or without protection at all are
well documented. Recent data from the Crash Injury
Research & Engineering Network (CIREN) project
indicate that inappropriately restrained children
are nearly three and a half times more likely
to suffer a severe injury in a crash than their
inappropriately restrained peers. More than half
(56%) of the children killed in motor vehicle
crashes in 2000 were completely unrestrained.
research tells us that parents still aren't getting
it-- they just don't realize that they're gambling
with their child's life when leaving them unbuckled
or in the wrong seat," said Heather Paul,
PhD., executive director of the National SAFE
KIDS Campaign. "We need more powerful ways
to persuade them-- more education, better laws
and stronger enforcement of those car seat laws
that are on the books."
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Seat Safety Tip