2011-03-03 / General Stories

Problem of Children Killed in Crashes Comes Close to Home

Lee County Extension Agent Urges Parents not to take chances

Are you one of those parents who take a short-cut and skips using child safety seats because you are just going around the corner to run a quick errand? We have all heard that most crashes occur close to home, but a study released by the Partners for Child Passenger Safety shows that it also applies to children being injured in crashes. Their findings show that children are most often involved in crashes close to home on local roads-roads where parents often feel safest.

So often we see the results of these crashes on the evening news and in the local newspapers but do not stop to consider that the majority of these crashes are happening on local streets and roads and not on highways.

A recent report, based on almost a decade of research from the largest source of data on children in motor vehicle crashes, proves this to be true. Partners for Child Passenger Safety, research collaboration between The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm, show the following findings:

* eighty percent of crashes took place 20 minutes or less from home

* nearly three out of four crashes (73 percent) happen between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

* more than half of crashes occur at speeds less than 45 mph

* only 12 percent of crashes took place on a divided highway

* only 35 percent of crashes took place at an intersection.

Lee County Extension Agent, Tonya Poncik, warns that motor vehicle crashes are the leading killer of children from age one and up, and more than 50 percent of children killed in crashes are unrestrained. But parents can take steps to prevent such tragedies. By using age-appropriate child safety seats and keeping children 12 and under properly restrained in the back seat of the vehicle, parents can greatly reduce the risk of injury.

Parents must be vigilant. Children need to be properly restrained on every trip-not just the long highway trip to grandmother’s house. Booster seats need to be used for older children who do not fit properly in the lap/shoulder belt. Children usually fit the lap/ shoulder belt system of the vehicle when they are around 8 years old, 80 pounds, and approximately 4’9". To be sure that your child is riding safely, contact Tonya Poncik at 979-542-2753 to set up an appointment for a free inspection.

Don’t take chances with your child’s safety. Buckle every child in the proper child safety seat or safety belt on every trip!

For additional information, contact Tonya Poncik, County Extension Agent, Family Consumer Sciences, Lee County at (979)542-2753 or visit the Texas AgriLife Extension Service office at 310 S. Grimes Street in Giddings.

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