Minority children may be less apt to wear restraints while in the car, making… (General Motors / EPA )
Minority children might be at greater risk for car crash-related injuries because fewer wear seat belts, a study finds.
The study, presented Saturday at the American Academy of Pediatrics' national conference in Boston, looked at statistics on 37,375 children younger than 16 collected from the National Trauma Database from 2002 to 2006. Among those children, less than half -- 45.7% -- were in restraints. The lowest use of seat belts was found among black, Hispanic and Native American children.
Researchers found that 12.6% of children who were injured required emergency surgery, and that the use of seat belts was linked with less severe injuries and a lower risk of needing an emergency operation.
Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that seat belt use is on the rise, and crash deaths are on the decline. Between 2002 and 2008 the percentage of adults who were never in the car without seat belts went from 80% to 85%. However, the report also noted that in 2010, 19 states still lacked a primary seat belt law.
Even if parents do buckle kids in, a study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in May found that the little darlings may be able to get out. Among 621 children younger than 6, 40% managed to unbuckle their restraints. The most determined ones, comprising 45% of the kids, got themselves out of a five-point harness.
Being able to afford a good booster seat may have just gotten easier, since the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's latest assessment of booster seats gave the thumbs up to some $15 models. While the seats in this "best bets" list are not crash tested, if seat belts are positioned correctly the child will be protected during a crash.