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Car Seats Save Young Lives
Date:1/21/2009

Chances of dying in a crash drop by three-fourths for infants, study finds,,

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Placing infants and small children in age-appropriate car safety seats significantly reduces the odds that they will die if they are in a motor vehicle accident, new research shows.

Babies reaped the most benefit from being placed in a car seat. Their odds of dying in a car crash dropped by three-quarters if they were in a safety restraint seat. But older children also saw significant benefits, with a mortality risk reduction of at least 60 percent.

"The findings from this study indicate that child restraints greatly reduce the risk of death among children 3 years and younger involved in severe traffic collisions," the authors of the study wrote.

"The higher effectiveness of safety seats among infants is likely due to their overall fragility," added study author Thomas Rice, a research epidemiologist at the Traffic Safety Center in the department of environmental sciences at the University of California, Berkeley.

Results of the study appear in the February issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Car accidents are the leading cause of unintentional injury and death for children older than 1 year, according to background information in the study. More than 500 children younger than 3 died as a result of motor vehicle collisions in 2005, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics cited in the study.

Most states have laws requiring child safety seats in cars, and use of these devices is high for the youngest children. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 93 percent of babies younger than 1 year were placed in car safety seats in 2006, while 91 percent of 1- to 3-year-olds also rode in car seats, the study reported.

The study included data on child fatalities from motor vehicle collisions tha
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