During Child Passenger Safety Week, September 19-25, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood held a press conference to showcase the current state of child passenger protection and urge families to have their CRs checked. He announced that NHTSA’s 2009 fatality/injury data showed a three-percent drop in fatalities due to traffic crashes (including bicycle- and pedestrian-vehicle incidents) among children under age 15, compared to the year before, as shown in Traffic Safety Facts 2009: Children. Crash injuries to children also decreased overall, by 7 percent.
An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study summarized in the September 8, 2010, issue of Status Report shows that usage of tethers for forward-facing child restraints has not increased in recent years. The report, based on observations made this summer of more than 1,500 child restraints, found a 43 percent overall tether usage rate. When looking only at the vehicles made in 2001 and after, when factory-installed tether anchors were required, 47 percent of tethers were used, but even this higher number dropped by 4 percent when counting only those that were tightly adjusted. The researchers stressed the need for more attention to tethers in public education, whether CRs are being installed with lower anchors or with seat belts.
A new NHTSA study, “Children Injured in Motor Vehicle Traffic Crashes,” analyzes the frequency of incapacitating crash injuries to children, as well as the most common types of injuries that occur. The research looks at children in three groups: under age 1, ages 1 to 3, and ages 4 to 7. The real-world data verify that significant injury is far more common among unrestrained children and in certain types of crashes, and that child restraints reduce the likelihood of incapacitating injury for all three age groups. The head was the most common region of injury for all children, but the type of head injury varied by age group, as did types of serious injury to other body regions.
Transport Canada recently updated its website to include the findings of CR crash test research it conducted between 2003 and 2009. Included along with the research description and findings are many crash test video clips. The videos depict a wide range of CR models and dummy sizes crashed in a variety of vehicle models. Tests were done for both LATCH (UAS, or Universal Anchorage System, in Canada) and seat belt installations, with and without tethers.
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