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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2006 Jun 9;55(22):624-7.

Nonfatal injuries and restraint use among child passengers--United States, 2004.


During 1978-2004, annual rates of child fatalities from motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) declined from 31.8 to 22.3 deaths per million. This decline might be partially attributed to the increased use of both child safety seats (for infants and young children) and seatbelts (for older children). Nevertheless, among child passengers aged </=12 years in 2004, nearly 1,200 children died, and an estimated 180,000 were injured and treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments (EDs). Recent studies suggest that MVC fatalities and injuries among infants and children can be reduced further by promoting and enforcing age-appropriate restraint use. The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) provides data on all injury-related hospital ED visits. For this report, NEISS-AIP was expanded to collect additional information about injuries and restraint use for child passengers aged </=12 years involved in MVCs during 2004 and examined at 15 U.S. EDs. Of the children injured in MVCs, 45% were either not restrained or inappropriately restrained. Most inappropriate restraint use occurred among children aged 4-8 years who were placed prematurely in seatbelts. The percentage of unrestrained children who were hospitalized was three times that of restrained children. Restraint use for child passengers should be promoted vigorously and enforced because it can reduce their risks for multiple injuries and hospitalization from MVCs.

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