The February 2014 CDC Vital Signs™ urges health care professionals to counsel parents about the importance and effectiveness of buckling up their children, to save their lives and reduce injuries in a crash. CDC injury expert Erin Sauber-Schatz, PhD, MPH discusses CDC’s top 3 motor vehicle safety tips for doctors and their patients.
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for U.S. children, although deaths have gone down in the past decade. The Vital Signs report finds that a third of children who died in crashes in 2011 were not buckled up. And the report found that almost half of all black (45 percent) and Hispanic (46 percent) children who died in crashes were not buckled up, compared to 26 percent of white children (2009-2010). Research has shown that using age- and size-appropriate child restraints (car seats, booster seats, and seat belts) is the best way to save lives and reduce injuries in a crash. Child passenger restraint laws result in more children being buckled up. Only 2 out of every 100 children live in states that require car seat or booster seat use for children age 8 and under.
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Erin: Here are CDC's top 3 motor vehicle
safety tips for doctors and their patients.
First, doctors should counsel parents
and caregivers to buckle children
into age and size appropriate car seats,
booster seats, and seat belts on every trip,
reminding them that the best way
to buckle up changes as a child grows.
In the past 10 years, more than 9,000 children,
12 and under, died in motor vehicle crashes
in the United States.
One third of those who died in 2011
were not buckled up.
Although crash deaths have gone down
in the past decade,
they remain a leading cause of death for children.
Second, doctors need to keep up to date
on child passenger safety recommendations.
Children up to age 2 should be buckled
in a rear-facing car seat until they reach
the upper weight or height limit of their seat.
When children outgrow their rear-facing car seat,
they should be buckled in a forward-facing car seat
until at least age 5, or until they reach
the upper weight or height limit
of their forward-facing seat.
Once children outgrow their forward-facing car seat,
they should be buckled in a booster seat
until seat belts fit properly.
Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt
lays across the upper thighs, not the stomach,
and the shoulder belt lays across the chest,
not the neck.
Although children no longer need
to use a booster seat,
once seat belts fit them properly,
children 12 and under should still be buckled
in a back seat, since the back seat is safest.
Finally, doctors should remind their patients
that buckling up saves lives
and, when adults buckle up,
it sets a good example for children.
No trip is too short.
Buckle every person, every seat, every time.
Transportation Safety Team Lead, CDC