Despite a 30 percent decrease in death rates from unintentional injuries among children, the United States lost more than 9,000 children over a ten year period as a result of unintentional injury according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC.
The most common cause of death from unintentional injury for children in this country is motor vehicle crashes even though death rates from motor vehicle crashes dropped by 41 percent from 2000 – 2009. It is also the number one cause in Michigan. Every day in the U.S. an average of five children, ages 0 – 14, are killed and another 693 are injured in motor vehicle crashes, while on average, two to three children die each week in Michigan.
Several factors are responsible for the reduction in motor vehicle injuries and deaths. Increased use of child restraints has shown to be one of the most important, but only if they are used correctly. Properly installed child safety seats reduce deaths by 70 percent for children under age one, and by 55 percent for toddlers age 1 – 4.
Booster seats are very important to prevent deaths in children ages 4 – 8. Using a booster seat with a seat belt instead of a seat belt alone reduces a child's risk of injury by 59 percent for children in this age group. However, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, only 8.6 percent of Michigan children ages four to eight ride in booster seats.
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