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February Tips of the Month:

Child Passenger Safety

National Child Passenger Safety Week

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children in the United States. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Traffic Crash facts 2002 data shows that 75 percent of children under 4 years of age avoided injuries during traffic crashes because they were properly restrained, compared to 61 percent who were without restraints. Similarly, 73 percent of children within the 4 to 5 age groups escaped injury compared to 64 percent without child restraints. The fatal injury for children under 4 years of age without restraints was 6.5 times higher than the under 4 years of age with restraints. Similarly, the fatal injury for children in the 1 to 5 year age group without safety restraints was 6.4 times higher than the same age group with safety restraints.  Sixty-six percent of fatalities in the 6 to 17 year age group were without seatbelts.

Most of these injuries could have been prevented. Placing children in age appropriate restraint systems reduces serious and fatal injuries by more than half.

All children ages 12 years and younger should ride in the back seat. This eliminates the injury risk of deployed front passenger-side airbags and places children in the safest part of the vehicle in the event of a crash.

If you have been in a motor vehicle crash with a child passenger safety seat, it needs to be replaced. It may have been weakened and should not be used, even if it looks fine.

Always read the child passenger safety seat manual and keep it with the seat. Also, be sure to send in the registration card that comes with the car safety seat. It will be important in case your car safety seat is recalled.


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