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Announcement: National Child Passenger Safety Week --- September 18--24, 2011

In the United States, motor vehicle--related injuries are the leading cause of death among children of all ages (1). In 2009, a total of 1,051 passenger vehicle occupants aged <16 years died as a result of crashes; 45% of these occupants were unrestrained (2). The lack of restraint use increased with age among the fatally injured. Specifically, 31% of children aged <4 years, 42% of children aged 4--7 years, 53% of children aged 8--12 years, and 67% of children aged 13--15 years were unrestrained at the time of the crash (2).

During 1975--2009, child restraints saved an estimated 9,310 lives (2). Child safety seats reduce fatal injury by 71% among infants and by 54% among toddlers (2). Belt-positioning booster seats reduce the risk for injury by 59% compared with seat belts alone (3), and seat belts reduce the risk for fatal or serious injury by nearly 50% (2). Seating position also contributes to child passenger safety. To keep child passengers as safe as possible, drivers should properly restrain children aged <13 years in a back seat and follow the American Academy of Pediatrics' child passenger safety recommendations, including the updated recommendation that all infants and toddlers ride rear-facing until they are aged 2 years or until they reach the highest rear-facing weight or height limit allowed by the manufacturer of their seat (4).

This year, National Child Passenger Safety Week is September 18--24. As part of the campaign, Saturday, September 24, is designated as National Seat Check Saturday, when drivers with child passengers are encouraged to visit a child safety seat inspection station to have a certified technician inspect their car seat and give hands-on advice free of charge. Additional information and an inspection station locator are available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS. Promotional materials (in English and Spanish) are available at http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/CAMPAIGNS/Child+Safety/Child+Passenger+Safety+Week.

References

  1. CDC. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Available at www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars. Accessed September 6, 2011.
  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic safety facts 2009 data. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; 2010. Available at http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pubs/811390.pdf. Accessed September 6, 2011.
  3. Durbin DR, Elliott MR, Winston FK. Belt-positioning booster seats and reduction in risk of injury among children in vehicle crashes. JAMA 2003;289:2835--40.
  4. American Academy of Pediatrics. National Child Passenger Safety Week, September 18--24, 2011. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2011. Available at http://www.aap.org/advocacy/ncpsw.htm. Accessed September 6, 2011.

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