Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children nationwide. From 2010 to 2014, there were 3,181 children under 13 killed and about 601,000 children injured in car crashes in the United States. Many deaths and injuries can be prevented by proper restraint use; however, in 2014, over one-third (34%) of children under 13 killed in car crashes were not in car seats, booster seats, or seat belts.
Each year, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) measures occupant protection use through observational surveys, including a survey of child restraint use. The 2015 Child Restraint Use survey, conducted at day care centers and shopping centers in 14 cities throughout Texas, showed 87.2 percent of children under the age of five were restrained in some manner. However, one-third of those children were not properly restrained, meaning there was a visible sign of incorrect use. .
Katie Womack, program manager of TTI’s Behavioral Research Program, and her team conduct a survey of Occupant Restraint Use among School Aged Children as well as the child restraint use survey annually. The 2015 results of the School Age survey indicated that about 63.8 percent of 5-to-16 year-old children were restrained either in a booster seat or a seat belt in both front and back seating positions.
“In the 32 years TTI has been conducting the survey of child restraint use we have seen child safety restraint system use increase from 22 percent to 87 percent. This steady increase over the years has saved thousands of Texas children from serious injury or death in motor vehicle crashes,” says Katie Womack. “Yet we know there are greater gains to be realized if all children are buckled up properly on every ride.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration currently offers free safety materials to generate awareness about child safety in motor vehicles.
Help spread the word in your community during Child Passenger Safety Week and National Seat Check Saturday, September 18-24, 2016, with NHTSA’s child passenger safety materials.
For more information, contact Katie Womack at [email protected].