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Child Passenger Safety Week Highlights Deadly Trends That Put Kids At ‘Undue And Unnecessary Risk’

The Auto Club Group, the AAA’s second largest club in North America, released research and … [+] The alarming increases in motor vehicle crash deaths during the first three months of 2021 confirm the continuation of a deadly trend that began last year . Upticks in speeding and impaired driving, coupled with less seatbelt use and reckless driving, put young children at “undue and unnecessary risk.”

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children in the U.S. In 2019, more than 1,000 aged 14 and younger were killed and an estimated 183,000 were injured, according to federal data.

Those are the highlights of an advisory released on Friday by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety to bring attention to the increasingly dangerous roads that put kids in harm’s way, and to demand action in state capitals and Congress to address the “urgent need” to protect child passengers.

Advocates, an alliance of consumer, medical, public health, law enforcement, and safety organizations as well as insurance companies and agents, released the alert in advance of the annual Child Passenger Safety Week , observed this year from September 19 to 25.

“Millions of school children are entering this perilous roadway environment with their return to in-person classes,” Cathy Chase, president of Advocates, said in a statement. “We urge all parents and caregivers to make sure their children are properly secured in vehicles according to their age and size. We also call on lawmakers across the country and in Congress to advance proven safety solutions to reduce motor vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities.”

The safety group issued a series of recommendations that include strengthening state child safety seat and seatbelt use laws; improving crash testing standards; upgrading school bus safety; and promoting legislative measures to prevent hot car deaths with requirements and performance standards for occupant detection and alert technology in new cars.

“Placing children in a rear or forward facing safety seat, booster seat or safety belt as appropriate for their age and size greatly reduces the risk of serious injury or death,” Chase added, referring to “ Evaluation of Child Restraint System Effectiveness ,” a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that was released in late 2020.

(A recent Forbes article, Traffic Crashes Are A Leading Cause Of Death For Kids, But Most Parents Don’t Check Car Seats , discussed how only 1 in 5 parents or caregivers checked to make sure the car seat they put their child in was correctly installed and that their child was properly secured. The AAA national automotive group along with the National Safety Council , as well as The Auto Club Group , the AAA’s second largest club in North America, released research and recommendations timed to Child Passenger Safety Week that addressed the issue.)

“Protecting children with proven safety solutions is an achievable goal,” Chase said. “This Child Passenger Safety Week, we call upon state and federal officials to make it happen.”

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