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Campaign Launched to 'Boost' Car Safety for Kids

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Even though motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for young children, 30% of them ride without any kind of safety restraint, according to the National Safe Kids Campaign. Winston says she's also concerned that of those who are in seats or belts, only about half are properly restrained. It's not clear how many lives booster use might save, but Winston is currently looking for the answer in a study. About 600 infants per year die in U.S. car crashes, according to one national child safety organization.

Slater says the cost of the booster seats -- ranging from $20 to $80 -- probably isn't a major reason they're not being used. "We think it's more education than economics, but where it's economics as well, we've got the kind of partnership that will help us address that issue," he says.

Education may also be an issue for physicians who need to talk with parents about how best to protect children on the road. "It's long been the American Academy of Pediatrics' position that children in this age group needed to be in booster seats," says Winston.

Vital Information:

  • Once children graduate from using child safety seats, a booster seat is in order for protecting children ages 4 to 8 while riding in cars.
  • Booster seats are used by less than 7% of the population, but the Department of Transportation is launching a national public awareness campaign to raise that number.
  • Adult seat belts do not work for young children because the lap portion of the belt rides up over the abdomen, instead of over the bone, and the shoulder strap doesn't fit properly.
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