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Family Times
Wednesday, December 8, 2010 • Posted December 8, 2010

Child Safety Seats- Most Crashes Happen Close to Home

Are you one of those parents who takes a short-cut and skips using child safety seats because you are just going around the corner to run a quick errand? We have all heard that most crashes occur close to home; this, in fact, also applies to crashes involving children. Partners for Child Passenger Safety, a research collaboration between The Children*s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm released a study that shows that children are most often involved in crashes close to home on local roads - roads where parents often feel safest.

So often we see the results of these crashes on the evening news and in the local newspapers but do not stop to consider that the majority of these crashes are happening on local streets and roads and not on highways. Here are some findings from a 2005 report based on a decade of research from the largest source of data on children in motor vehicle crashes:

* Eighty percent of crashes took place 20 minutes or less from home.

* Nearly three out of four crashes (73 percent) happen between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

* More than half of crashes occur at speeds less than 45 mph.

* Only 12 percent of crashes took place on a divided highway.

* Only 35 percent of crashes took place at an intersection.

In their 2007 Child Passenger Safety Fact and Trend Report, Partners for Child Passenger Safety reports that children are at the greatest risk of injury when they are 11 to 20 minutes from home, and over half of all crashes involving children happen 10 or fewer minutes from home.

Children are also more likely to be involved in a crash on a local road than a highway. Crashes involving children happen four times more frequently on local roads.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading killer of children, and nearly 50 percent of children killed in crashes are unrestrained. But parents can take steps to prevent such tragedies. By using age-appropriate child safety seats and keeping children 12 and under properly restrained in the back seat of the vehicle, parents can greatly reduce the risk of injury.

Parents must be vigilant. Children need to be properly restrained on every trip - not just the long highway trip to grandmother's house. Your child will also fight it less when they have to be in a seat every time.

My "strong willed" 2 year old fights her seat but is easy to convince with a single Skittle or M&M. You know I’m not an advocate of candy for kids, but it is so special because she doesn’t normally get it and I’d rather her be safe, even on the 3 minute ride to daycare! You should try stickers or "Show me how you can get in your seat like a big girl!" before you resort to candy.

Booster seats need to be used for older children who do not fit properly in the lap/shoulder belt. Children usually fit the lap/shoulder belt system of the vehicle when they are around 8 years old and approximately 4’9". To be sure that your child is riding safely, contact a certified child passenger safety technician for a free inspection.

Technicians in Texas can be found online at http://buckleup.tamu.edu or nationwide at http://seatcheck.org. I used to be certified, but let my certification lapse. I can help you get in touch with the agent in Fredericksburg, who is currently certified and takes appointments to do safety seat check-ups.

Don't take chances with your child's safety. Buckle every child in the proper child safety seat or safety belt on every trip!

Source: The Passenger Safety Team, Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

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