Making sure your child is in the proper car seat, booster or seat belt could be a matter of life and death, according to a new report that found 1 in 5 children killed in a car crash were unrestrained or inappropriately restrained
The report, published May 23 in the Journal of Pediatrics, also found that 13 percent of children killed in car crashes were inappropriately seated in the front seat.
The study also considered variations from state to state. Children who died in a crash who were unrestrained or inappropriately restrained varied from 2 percent in New Hampshire to a high of 38 percent in Mississippi. The analysis looked at data from across the United States for fatal car crashes involving children under the age of 15.
In Kansas, 25 percent of fatal crashes involving a child passenger had no restraint or the misuse of a restraint from 2010-14. The vast majority – 77 percent – of crashes that killed children in Kansas occurred on a rural road, above the national average (62 percent).
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The study noted that drivers may not be familiar with rural roads, contributing to risk.
“In addition, rural roads may be associated with other factors not measured in our data, including poorer road quality, decreased lighting/visibility, decreased enforcement of speed limits, objects on the roadside, or distance to the nearest trauma center,” the authors wrote.
Yet another factor considered was whether states have red light camera legislation, finding that greater percentages of children died in states without such legislation.
Kansas is one of 18 states with no laws regarding red light cameras.
All children 3 and younger must be in a child restraint, according to Kansas law. Children ages 4 to 7 who weigh less than 80 pounds or are less than 57 inches tall must be in a car seat or booster seat. All others must wear an adult seat belt. Children should ride in the back seat until age 13, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.