Get facts during Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 17-23

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True or false: If you and your child are in an accident near your rural home, your child will probably be hurt less than if the accident happened in Des Moines.

This statement is false.

Children in rural areas are between two and five times more likely to be seriously injured or killed in a vehicle crash than children in urban areas.

According to the Children’s Safety Network, correctly using car seats in passenger cars reduces the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers.

Children should use a booster seat until they are tall enough that an adult seat belt doesn’t cross their neck.  In 2015 about 25 percent of children ages 4 to 7 were prematurely moved to seat belts when they should have continued in booster seats. See https://www.nhtsa.gov.

True or false: Most parents and grandparents strap their little ones’ car seats into the vehicle correctly.

This statement also is false.

While most adults are confident that they put their child’s car seat in the right way, in most cases — 59 percent — the seat is not installed correctly. A car seat not securely and properly strapped into the vehicle may not protect your child.

Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old. Many deaths and injuries can be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters and seat belts. Getting safety information and car seat instructions to parents and caregivers is crucial to saving young lives.

Child Passenger Safety Week 2017 runs Sept. 17-23. For more information, visit the National Child Passenger safety Board website.

Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.

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