Fewer children are dying in traffic accidents - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Fewer children are dying in traffic accidents

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BOARDMAN, Ohio - Children are our most precious cargo and it appears we're doing a better job of getting them to where they need to be more safely.

According to a recent Centers for Disease Control report, traffic deaths involving children have dropped 43% in the last 10 years.

"When parents know that they have to do the right thing, they're more likely to do it," said Gia Ramsey with Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley.

Health experts believe a growth in state laws requiring car seats and booster seats is one of the main reasons for the decline.

While children have long accounted for only a small portion of total traffic deaths, there are still more than 600 killed each year. A third of those deaths are the result of children not being properly restrained.

"The recommendations are that children stay rear facing as long as possible. We say until at least the age of two," Ramsey said. "Once your child goes forward facing, we recommend keeping them in their harness until the maximum height and weight for that seat. Seats are going up to higher harness limits, even 90 lbs in a harness before you switch over to the booster. So, the longer you can keep them harnessed in the seat, the safer it is."

In Ohio, a child must remain in a car seat or booster seat until the age of eight or until the child is 4' 9'' tall. It is also recommended they remain in the backseat until they're teenagers.

"They don't have to worry about sustaining the impact from an airbag. So, we recommend keeping children in the back seat of the car until at least the age of 13," Ramsey said.

The CDC report found that African Americans and Hispanics have twice the number of fatalities from not buckling children into their safety seats or not having them wear seat belts. It's believed economics play a role.

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