NHTSA launches New campaign to promote
booster seat use
Child restraint use is up, but improper use of these safety
devices continues to be high, and thats why the U.S
Department of Transportations National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA) is launching a new campaign
to get parents to use the seats and use them correctly. Nearly
73 percent of all child restraints are improperly used, needlessly
exposing children to an increased risk of death or injury.
But child restraint use has increased considerably since
a similar study in the mid-1990s looked at restraint use for
children weighing 60 pounds or less. Between then and
now, restraint use has increased from 50.6 percent to 71.5
percent for children in that weight category. Tragically,
nearly 12 percent of children were completely unrestrained
and thus at great risk, according to NHTSA.
Child safety seats are very effective when used properly,
said NHTSA Administrator Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D. Parents
and caregivers should take time to understand how to better
protect children of all ages.
Data for the study were collected in the fall of 2002 for
5,527 children weighing less than 80 pounds in 4,126 vehicles
in six states: Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania,
and Washington. (The current study differed from its predecessor
in the weight range of children observed, with the earlier
study looking at children under 60 pounds rather than 80 pounds.)
Researchers also found:
Earlier in the week, NHTSA launched a new public service
advertising campaign with the Ad Council to help educate parents
of young children who have outgrown child safety seats.
The campaign tells parents that the next step after child
safety seats is not an adult safety belt but a booster seat.
At least 4 out of 5 children who should ride in booster seats
currently do not.
NHTSA recommends that children up to 40 pounds and ages 4
through 8 be placed in an appropriate child seat instead of
a safety belt, unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches.
Safety belts are not designed to fit smaller children,
Runge said. Booster seats remedy that problem by positioning
the belt where it is most effective.
For more information on the booster seat campaign, visit
. The Misuse of Child Restraints report is available