WASHINGTON: American parents and caregivers are urged to do more to protect children on the road, as a new report found that one third of U.S. children who died in crashes in 2011 were not buckled up.
The report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Tuesday that over 9,000children were killed in traffic accidents between 2002 and 2011, though car crash deaths among children aged 12 and younger dropped by 43 percent during the period.
“No child should die in a motor vehicle crash because they were not properly buckled up and yet, sadly, it happens hundreds of times each year in the U.S.,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement.
“Many of these tragedies are preventable when parents use age- and size-appropriate child restraints every time their child rides in a motor vehicle.”
According to the CDC report, using age- and size-appropriate child restraints such as car seats, booster seats and seat belts is the best way to save lives and reduce injuries in a crash.
To help keep children safe on the road, parents and caregivers should use car seats, booster seats, and seat belts in the back seat on every trip, no matter how short, it said.
The report called for use of rear-facing car seats in infants and toddlers until age two or when they reach the upper weight or height limit of that seat, followed by forward-facing car seats for kids until age five or when they reach the upper weight or height limit of that seat.
Once children outgrow their forward-facing seat, they should be buckled in a booster seat until seat belts fit properly. The recommended height for proper seat belt fit is 57 inches tall, it said.
“Parents and caregivers play an important role in keeping children safe in the car,” said Daniel Sosin, acting director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Children often imitate their parents; so it’s important that parents model safe behavior and buckle up on every trip. Parents also should always buckle children in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats and, seat belts.” PNA