Auto Crashes Hit Close to Home for Parents and Their Children

October 19, 2005

Stop if this fact-based story sounds familiar … It’s a run-of-the-mill Saturday morning for the Smith family. Mom buckles 7-year-old Billy in the front seat of the family car, thinking: “why bother with his booster seat to simply go to the local market?” This can be a common Saturday scenario for thousands of American families … and so can the automobile collision that may occur.

The first Partners for Child Passenger Safety Fact and Trend Report, released this week, presents recent child passenger safety findings from an ongoing research collaboration between The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance Companies. The report, based on confidential interviews provided by State Farm customers, unearths a startling fact: most motor vehicle crashes that involve children happen where parents feel safest – during everyday routines on local roads.

“Everyone has seen horrific highway crashes on the local evening news, but few may consider the simple fact that the majority of crashes involving children occur on local roads and in parking lots,” states Flaura Winston, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator of the Children’s Hospital/State Farm report. “Parents must remain vigilant about child passenger safety at all times, using age-appropriate seating and restraints for children 12 and younger. No one is immune from a car crash.”

Motor vehicle crashes can happen to anyone, any time, anywhere. Tapping into the largest source of data on children in motor vehicle crashes, the PCPS Fact and Trend Report identifies characteristics of crashes involving children. Did you know:

* Eighty percent of crashes took place 20 minutes or less from home
* Nearly three out of four crashes (73 percent) happen between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
* More than half of crashes occur at speeds less than 45 MPH
* Only 35 percent of crashes took place at an intersection

While motor vehicle crashes are the leading killer of children older than age one in the United States, parents can take precautionary, life-saving measures to ensure safe transport of their children.

Following the guidelines for age- and size-appropriate restraint can reduce the risk of serious injury by more than three times, according to previously published research from PCPS. And, the combination of rear seating (children age 12 and younger) and restraint use reduces the risk of injury to less than two percent.

“The PCPS Fact and Trend Report serves as a stark reminder that motor vehicle crashes do happen under common and familiar conditions, giving us reasons to constantly put into practice our knowledge of age-appropriate seating and restraints,” said Susan Hood, claims vice president, State Farm. “Parents must act daily to protect their child, meaning it’s their responsibility to guarantee their child’s safety for every car ride. It could save a child’s life. It could save their child’s life.”

To learn more about protecting children in crashes, visit . And to download the complete Partners for Child Passenger Safety Fact and Trend Report, visit .

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