Children are better off when parents use child restraint seats

Children in properly used child restraint systems are 28 percent less likely to die in car accidents than those wearing seat belts alone, a study of accidents involving children 2 to 6 years old shows. The researchers used data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. National Automotive Sampling System on more than 9,000 children involved in crashes from 1998 to 2003. According to Dr. Dennis R. Durbin, a co-author of the study, many parents consider moving their children from child restraints to seat belts when they are 2 to 6. The federal safety agency says that all infants under a year old should be in rear-facing safety seats. Children older than 1 and heavier than 20 pounds should be in forward-facing safety or booster seats until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall. The report appeared in The Archives of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine. The authors acknowledge certain limits in their study, including a small amount of missing data for some crashes and the possibility that the police misclassified the type of restraint used.The results held true after statistically adjusting for seating position, vehicle type and model year, driver age, passenger age and whether the driver survived."In each year of the study," Dr. Durbin said, "about 100 young children were killed while wearing seat belts, 28 of whom - an average size classroom - would have been saved had they been using a child restraint." Dr. Durbin is an associate professor of paediatrics and epidemiology at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania. NYT

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