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Child Automobile Safety Initiative


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Did you know that restraint use among young children often depends upon the behaviors modeled through the driver's seat belt use? Almost 40 percent of children riding with unbelted drivers were themselves unrestrained. Children rely upon adults when learning to make choices. Be the best role model for children by buckling yourself and them up every time for every ride.

Why Your Choice Matters

  • Crashes are the leading cause of death for children age 3 to 14.
  • In 2008, 968 children age 14 and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes, and approximately 168,000 were injured.
  • A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, in one year, more than 618,000 children up to age 12 rode in vehicles without the use of a child safety seat or booster seat or a seat belt at least some of the time.
  • Child safety seats are often used incorrectly. One study found that 72 percent of nearly 3,500 observed car and booster seats were misused in a way that could be expected to increase a child's risk of injury during a crash. This means that three out of four kids are not as secure in the car as they should be because their car seats are not being used correctly.
  • Overall, for children less than 16 years, riding in the back seat is associated with a 40 percent reduction in the risk of serious injury.

Making the Right Choice

  • An estimated 8,959 lives were saved by child restraints from 1975 to 2008
  • 33,808 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2009, a 9.7 percent decline from deaths reported in 2008, and the lowest number of deaths since 1950
  • An estimated 2.2 million people were injured in 2009, a 5.5 percent decline from those injured in 2008
  • Texas had 405 fewer vehicle fatalities in 2009 than 2008

Making the Safe Choice for All Passengers

  • Vehicle occupants should also always buckle up, even when riding in the back seat
  • Among fatally injured vehicle occupants, more than half (53%) of those killed in 2009 were unrestrained

What Your Choice Means

Children prematurely moved to seat belts are four times more likely to suffer serious head injuries during a collision than children in child safety or booster seats. Safety belts are designed for adults, therefore children under 4-foot-9 should ride with a booster seat.

  • Child passengers not properly restrained in a vehicle collision could suffer from:
    • Seat Belt Syndrome
    • Severe injuries and internal trauma
    • Death
  • Caregivers who choose not to properly restrain child passengers also face:
    • Ticket and fines
    • Increased insurance premiums
    • Avoidable medical expenses

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