Right Restraint Use Key for Children's Car Safety

Promotion of age-appropriate restraints properly used is important for reducing injuries, fatalities

MONDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- There is a population-level benefit to interventions aimed at improving the rate of children's restraint use in cars, with promotion of age-appropriate restraints yielding the greatest benefits, according to a study published online Jan. 11 in Pediatrics.

Wei Du, Ph.D., of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues used population-attributable risk fraction estimates to calculate the benefit of four population-level interventions aimed at improving restraint practices for children aged 0 to 12 years.

Based on a 50 percent population-uptake rate, age-appropriate restraint promotion could result in 5.1 percent fewer fatalities and 3.2 percent fewer nonfatal injuries among infants, as well as 3.4 percent fewer fatalities and 16.2 percent fewer nonfatal injuries among 1- to 6-year-olds, the researchers found. Further encouragement to correctly use age-appropriate restraints could prevent 9.1 percent of infant and 14.3 percent of young child fatalities, plus 9.2 percent of infant and 10.7 percent of young child nonfatal injuries. For children aged 7 to 12 years, promotion of the correct use of restraints could reduce fatalities by 3.4 percent and nonfatal injuries by 3.1 percent, the investigators discovered.

"There are likely to be significant public benefits associated with implementing population-level interventions to encourage restraint use, age-appropriate restraint use, and correct age-appropriate restraint use for child passengers," the authors write. "Worldwide efforts should be continually devoted to improving restraint practices including age-appropriate restraint use and correct use."

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