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Unintentional injuries, Motor vehicle accidents, Child passenger safety



  1. Vick, Judith W. BSN, RN


There are staggering and tragic statistics involving children, car seats, and motor vehicle accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children from 0 to 15 years of age, and in the United States during 2005, 1,335 children ages 14 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle accidents; approximately 184,000 were injured. That is an average of 4 deaths and 504 injuries each day.


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show that nearly one-half of deaths and injuries in children occurred because they were not properly restrained. Child safety seats and safety belts, when installed and used properly, can prevent injuries and save lives. Among children under age 5, an estimated 425 lives were saved in 2006 by child restraint use. Research on the effectiveness of child safety seats has found them to reduce fatal injury by 71% for infants, and by 54% for toddlers in passenger cars.


This article discusses the need for increased education of parents and healthcare professionals about selection and installation of car safety restraints, and the importance of developing a child safety restraint program.