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Fewer Children Are Dying From Car Accidents, Study Reports

Update Date: Feb 05, 2014 01:37 PM EST

Cars are one of the most dangerous forms of transportation due to several factors such as the weather, other drivers and the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to a new report conducted by United States health officials, the percentage of children's deaths due to car accidents has decreased. However, roughly one-third of the children's deaths caused by car accidents were due to improper buckling.

For this report, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined data on children who died due to car accidents. The data included children aged 12 or younger from 2002 to 2011. The CDC calculated that during this time frame the percentage of children who died due to car collisions fell by 43 percent. Despite this drop, they found that more than 9,000 children died and many of the cases were due to the fact that the children's car seats or seat belts were not buckled in correctly.

The researchers discovered that the issue with improper buckling was most prevalent among black and Hispanic children. Roughly 45 percent of black kids and 46 percent of Hispanic kids that died from 2009 to 2010 were caused by buckling issues. For white kids, the percentage fell to 26 percent. The CDC reasoned that the discrepancy between races could be due to financial issues. Black and Hispanic families might have a harder time paying for the correct car and booster seats according to the size of their children.

"We have made a lot of progress in reducing motor vehicle fatalities in the U.S. in the past decade, but still there are far too many deaths," CDC director Tom Frieden said according to Philly. "These are troubling numbers, especially since so many of these deaths could have been prevented by buckling children in age- and size-appropriate child restraints -- car seats, booster seats and seat belts -- on every trip,"

The researchers concluded that in order to reduce the child mortality rate, cars and child restraints in cars have to be improved upon. In the report, the CDC gave advice on how parents could reduce the number of children's deaths due to collisons. First, parents should always use car seats, booster seats and seat belts on every single trip regardless of the trip's duration. Parents must also use the correct seats according to the child's age. For example, children between birth and age two should be put in rear-facing car seat unless the child's weight or height surpasses the seat's limit.

"There is no excuse for parents not putting the child in restraints," said Malvina Duncan, a child passenger safety instructor at Miami Children's Hospital. "It's just changing a mindset that 'it's not going to happen to me.' That is just a poor excuse. Parents have to do the right thing."

Frieden added, according to ABC 2 News, "The first step is buckling up. Every child, of every age, on every trip."

The findings were published in the CDC's Vital Signs.

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