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Correct seat belt use saves children's lives
Date:8/6/2014

9 out of 10 children are seriously or fatally injured in traffic accidents because they are incorrectly restrained or because of loose objects in cars. Correct use of safety equipment will save more lives, according to a new study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH).

Why are some children seriously or fatally injured in traffic accidents while other children in the same vehicle walk away without physical injury? This is one of the main questions Dr Marianne Skjerven-Martinsen at the NIPH studied as part of her doctoral dissertation.

The study is part of the research project 'Barn i bil' (Eng: Children in cars), a collaboration between the NIPH and Oslo University Hospital. As part of the project, a roadside study of normal traffic on Norwegian high-speed roads also took place which showed that every third child was incorrectly restrained.

Correct Seat Belt Use is Crucial

By investigating traffic accidents in Norway, Skjerven-Martinsen and her colleagues documented that incorrect restraint and loose objects in cars play a significant role in the number of deaths and injuries among children.

The results show that:

  • Accidents where children are seriously injured mainly occur on high speed roads, in weekend traffic and most often follow frontal collisions on roads without crash barriers between carriageways.
  • More than 9 out of 10 children who were seriously or fatally injured in traffic accidents were incorrectly restrained or were hit by loose objects in the car.
  • The most common error is that the seatbelt is misplaced, with the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the back, or the lap belt is placed too high on the abdomen.
  • Loose objects also cause damage to passengers, often indirectly when heavy luggage shifts, displacing the rear seat where the child is sitting.
  • Correctly secured children have a low risk of injury, even in a heavy
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Contact: Julie Johansen
julie.johansen@fhi.no
Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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