From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein
Date February 7, 2014
CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov
Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925
Safety First with Kids in the Car
Proper Use of Restraints Prevents Injuries & Saves Lives
ERIE COUNTY, NY—Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. Age- and size-appropriate child restraint use is the most effective method for reducing these deaths.
“Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children in the United States” states Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health (“ECDOH”). “Tragically, in Erie County two children were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2013. Use of the age-appropriate restraints such as a car safety seat or a booster seat greatly reduces the risk of serious injury and death to your children in a motor vehicle accident.”
Burstein continues “One third (33%) of children who died in motor vehicle accidents in the United States in 2011 were unrestrained. These are deaths that might have been prevented had these children been properly restrained. Although motor vehicle occupant deaths among children in the United States have declined in the past decade, more deaths could be prevented if restraints were always used. And, as a reminder, children should always ride in the back seat.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) recommends using age- and size-appropriate child restraints (including child safety seats and booster seats) in the back seat until adult seat belts fit properly (i.e., when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs, not the stomach; and the shoulder belt lays across the shoulder and chest, not the neck or face), which normally occurs after a child is at least age 8 years or ≥57 inches (145 cm) tall.
Children up to the age of 2 years should be secured in rear-facing child safety seats. Forward-facing child safety seats are used until at least age 5 years. Booster seats are to be used until the child is at least age 8 years and until seat belts fit properly. Adult seat belts, still in the back seat, are appropriate for children up to age 13 years. Passengers aged ≥13 years should use adult seat belts on every trip, no matter how short or quick.
For more information:
- New York State Highway Safety Program -- http://www.safeny.ny.gov/sesa-ndx.htm
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention -- Vital Signs: Restraint Use and Motor Vehicle Occupant Death Rates Among Children Aged 0–12 Years — United States, 2002–2011
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration -- http://www.safercar.gov/parents/CarSeats.htm
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