-- Robert Preidt
SATURDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Fewer than half of U.S.
children injured in car crashes between 2002 and 2006 were wearing
seat belts, and minority children had the lowest rates of seat-belt
use, a new study finds.
Researchers examined data on car accidents involving nearly
40,000 children under age 16 and found that 47.5 percent were
restrained. Black, Hispanic and Native American children had the
lowest rates of seat-belt use.
The overall death rate among the children was nearly 6 percent
and the injury rate was nearly 7 percent. Of the children who were
injured, nearly 13 percent required emergency surgery.
The researchers also found that seat-belt use was associated
with a lower injury severity score (ISS) and that a higher ISS was
associated with a greater risk of emergency surgery, severe
outcomes, longer hospital stay and death.
The study was slated for presentation Oct. 15 at the American
Academy of Pediatrics' national meeting in Boston.
Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data
and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in
a peer-reviewed journal.
"After adjusting for the use of restraints, we found no differences in mortality among different ethnic groups. The major determinant of both morbidity and mortality is the severity of the injury as quantified by the initial injury severity score," lead author Dr. Rebecca Stark said in an academy news release. "Because the use of restraints decreases the ISS, we feel our results highlight the need for further education and outreach to the pediatric population about the benefit of seat-belt use."
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among
children in the United States.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
child passenger safety.
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