Utah parents urged to check child safety seats

A new report on child traffic deaths reinforces the need to be certain children are properly restrained in car seats. Photo courtesy CDC.

SALT LAKE CITY – Given the latest figures on children’s deaths in traffic accidents, parents in Utah may want to double-check that their children’s safety seats are fastened properly.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showed that one in three child traffic deaths in the past decade happened in cases when a child younger than age 12 was not properly restrained.

Dr. Erin Sauber-Schatz, transportation safety team lead for the CDC’s Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, said parent education and car-seat distribution help make sure more children are buckled up properly. She added that stricter laws also would help.

“Child passenger restraint laws that increase the age for car-seat or booster-seat use result in getting more children buckled up,” she said.

The CDC report said about a dozen children die in car crashes each week in the United States. The federal recommendation is a law that requires child safety-seat use through age 8, which already is the law in Utah.

Health-care providers also play a role in making sure children are safe in cars and trucks. Sauber-Schatz suggested a conversation in the doctor’s office.

“They can counsel parents and caregivers at each well-child checkup to use age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats and seat belts on every trip,” she said.

In general, the CDC recommends:

* All children should ride in the back seat until age 13.

* Rear-facing car seats are for infants up to age 2.

* Front-facing seats are suitable from 2 to 5.

* Booster seats are to be used until a child has grown enough for a seat belt to fit properly across the chest and lap.

The report, “CDC Vital Signs: Child Passenger Safety” is online at <a href=”http://www.cdc.gov/media/dpk/2014/dpk-vs-motor-vehicle-safety.html” target=”parent”>cdc.gov</a>.

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