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Child Safety in SUVs Studied

January 03, 2006|From Associated Press

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Children are no safer riding in sport utility vehicles than in passenger cars, largely because the doubled risk of rollovers in SUVs cancels out the safety advantages of their size and weight, according to a study released today.

Researchers said the findings dispelled the bigger-equals-safer myth that helped fuel the growing popularity of SUVs among families.

"We're not saying they're worse or that they're terrible vehicles. We're challenging the conventional wisdom that everyone assumed they were better," said Dr. Dennis Durbin, a pediatric emergency physician who took part in the study, published in the journal Pediatrics.

"SUVs have an exceptional safety record and are safer than, or as safe as, cars in the vast majority of crashes," said Eron Shosteck of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

The study, sponsored by Partners for Child Passenger Safety, looked at accidents involving nearly 4,000 children under age 16 between 2000 and 2003 and found child injury rates of about 1.7% in cars and SUVs.

The study found that the weight of SUVs reduced the risk of injury by more than a third. But that was offset by findings that SUVs were more than twice as likely as cars to roll in crashes.

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