Big drop in child deaths from car crashes

Riding in a car got dramatically safer for kids from 2002 through 2011 with a big drop in child passenger deaths. That’s the good news.

The bad news: More than 9,000 children died in traffic accidents during those 10 years, and many of them were not properly buckled up.

“No child should die in a motor vehicle crash because they were not properly buckled up, and yet, sadly, it happens hundreds of times each year in the U.S.,” said Tom Frieden, MD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which published the findings. “Many of these tragedies are preventable when parents use age- and size-appropriate child restraints every time their child rides in a motor vehicle.”

About the study

The numbers come from the Feb. 4 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers reviewed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 2002 through 2011 to find out how many children ages 12 and younger died in crashes, as well as how many of those children were secured in safety restraints like seat belts, booster seats and child safety seats.

Some of the most vital numbers:

  • 9,182. The total number of child passengers who died during that time period.
  • 43 percent. The decrease in death rates during those 10 years. Rates fell from 2.2 per 100,000 children to 1.2 per 100,000.
  • 3,308. The estimated number of children from birth to age 4 who lived because they were properly restrained.
  • 1 of every 3. The number of unrestrained children in a crash who died in 2011, the last year of the study.

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