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Booster-seats reduce risk of child fatalities in car accidents

Car accidents still remain a threat to children and teens in Texas. Car accidents are the third highest cause of death for children ages 1 to 18 in the U.S. While car accident dangers remain on the road, parents can follow safety guidelines to keep their children safe while riding in the car.

The use of booster-seats has come under fire by safety experts who are baffled as to why more parents don't use booster-seats for their children. A new study portrays the significant safety features booster-seats provide for children and the role it plays in car accidents.

The study found that booster-seats can save lives during car accidents. Before any state laws were passed requiring the use of booster-seats, fatal car accidents for children ages 4 to 5 were reported at 5.7 deaths per 100,000 kids, according to the researchers at the Children's Hospital in Boston. After states passed laws requiring booster-seats to be used for children under the age of 8, the car accident fatality rate declined to 4.2 deaths per 100,000 kids.

The study also compared car accident fatality rates for children in states with booster-seat laws to fatality rates in states without these laws. The study found that children ages 4 to 5 living in states with booster-seat laws were 11 percent less likely to be in a fatal car accident compared to those living in states without booster-seat laws. In addition, the study found that children ages 6 and 7 living in states with booster-seat laws had a 23 percent and 25 percent of being involved in a fatal car accident.

The researchers concluded that using booster-seats alone reduces the risk of children being fatally injured in a car accident. States that have passed laws requiring the use of booster-seats for children also significantly reduce the risk of children being in a fatal car accident.

While the results of this study prove the importance of booster-seats for children, it is reported that only 48 percent of children ages 4 and 5 actually use them. Worse, only 35 percent of children ages 6 and 7 use booster-seats.

Whether or not parents use booster-seats for their children, Texas law does require drivers to use booster-seats for children until they are 8, as long as they are shorter than 4 feet 9 inches.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Booster-seat use linked to reduced risk of death in car crashes," Karen Kaplan, Nov. 5, 2012

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