Daniel Susco
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Study Issues Reminder: Seat Belts Will Keep Your Children Alive

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A new study by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center is here to remind us that, based on the most recent data, car accidents are still a top killer of children under 15 and that wearing seat belts properly could have prevented many of them.

More specifically, the most common cause of death in young children is unintentional injury and the most common cause of unintentional injury is car accidents. According to the study, which took its statistics from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System that is maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2010 to 2014, 2,885 children died in car crashes nationwide, excluding pedestrians, bicycle riders, motorcycle riders, and children in an “unenclosed car area” (read: truck bed) or trailer.

According to the study, 43% of those fatally injured children were unrestrained or improperly restrained—that’s about 1,240 of them. Two more significant groups were riding inappropriately in the front seat or riding in cars where the driver was drunk, at 15% and 13%, respectively.

Of course, these deaths weren’t uniformly spread across the nation—for example, more cases where children died in crashes came up in southern states and crashes on rural roads contributed to two-thirds of the deaths.

Due to the complexity of the crashes and the inability to know certain factors about each crash, the study has difficulty with declaring anything particularly specific regarding what caused these deaths, other than one thing: child restraints, properly used, proved effective in preventing injury or death.

This point proves especially poignant as road trip season rolls in. Buckle in your kids, everybody, and have a safe summer.

News Sources: The New York Times, The Journal of Pediatrics