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Upgraded Child Restraint Law Cuts Traffic Injury Rate

After implementation of New York law, traffic injuries fell 18 percent in 4- to 6-year-olds

MONDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- After the implementation of a 2005 New York State law requiring 4- to 6-year-old children to use a booster seat or restraint system, traffic injuries in the age group fell by 18 percent, according to a study published online Aug. 9 in Pediatrics.

Kainan Sun, Ph.D., of the New York State Department of Health in Albany, and colleagues used data from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Accident Information System to assess changes in the traffic injury rate for 4- to 6-year-olds for the period beginning 27 months before and ending 33 months after the 2005 enactment of the state's upgraded child restraint law (UCRL). The traffic injury rate was compared to children 0 to 3 years old who were unaffected by the law change.

The researchers found that use of a booster seat or restraint system in 4- to 6-year-olds increased from 29 percent before UCRL enactment to 50 percent after, a 72 percent increase. Following the UCRL implementation, there was an 18 percent reduction in the traffic injury rate among the 4- to 6-year-olds, while there was no appreciable change in the rate for 0- to 3-year-olds.

"UCRL implementation in New York State has been effective in reducing traffic injuries among 4- to 6-year-old children. This safety benefit can be explained largely by the increased use of child restraint systems for child passengers after UCRL implementation," the authors write.

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