Almost Half of Young Car Crash Patients Poorly Restrained

Twenty-one percent of unrestrained children hospitalized versus 7 percent of those properly restrained

FRIDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 45 percent of children who require emergency treatment after car accidents are insufficiently restrained or not strapped in at all, researchers report in the June 9 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Children aged 4 to 8 were the most likely to be restrained inappropriately with use of a seat belt without a booster seat.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers analyzed 2004 data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program broadened to include statistics on 649 children aged 12 and under treated after motor vehicle crashes in 15 U.S. emergency departments.

Most of the inadequately restrained children were 4- to 8-year-olds secured too early by seat belts without booster seats. Twelve percent of black children and 14 percent of Hispanic children were unrestrained, versus 2 percent of whites. Twenty-four percent of children in trucks were not strapped in, compared to 8 percent in cars, vans and sports utility vehicles, the researchers found.

"Restraint use for child passengers should be promoted vigorously and enforced because it can reduce their risks for multiple injuries and hospitalizations from motor vehicle crashes," the authors write.

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