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Seat Belts, Bike Helmets Go Unused in Movies Aimed at Kids
Date:1/11/2010

Hollywood demonstrates safe practices only about half the time, study finds,,,,

MONDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Movies made for kids are getting better at portraying safety behaviors like wearing seatbelts and bike helmets, but they're still missing the mark about half the time.

That's the conclusion of a government study that's been tracking injury-prevention practices in movies since 1995. The study found that just 56 percent of motor vehicle passengers on the silver screen wore their seatbelts, while a mere 25 percent of people bicycling wore helmets.

"Personal injuries are the leading cause of death in children, but when appropriate safety recommendations are followed, deaths are decreased," noted study author Jon Eric Tongren, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. "If Hollywood can portray health messages that are factual, that would be very important, because children may imitate what they see on film."

The current study is the third in a series of studies designed to assess how injury-prevention practices are being portrayed in movies targeted to children. The first looked at movies from 1995 to 1997, the second from 1998 to 2002 and the current study looked at movies from 2003 to 2007.

In the latest report, the researchers included the 25 top-grossing films rated either G or PG for each year. They excluded animated films, fantasy films, documentaries and movies not set in the present day. After the exclusions, 67 films were analyzed for scenes with safe or unsafe behaviors.

Five of the movies were rated G, and the remaining 62 were PG-rated. Thirty-eight movies were comedies, 15 were action/adventure movies, 13 were children/family films and one was a drama.

From those movies, the researchers found 958 person-scenes involving potential injury-prevention practices. Fifty-five percent of the scenes involved children.


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