Most children age 1 year or younger (97.9 percent) were observed to be properly restrained in a child safety seat. However, survey data indicate that child passengers are less likely to be properly restrained in vehicles the older the children are.
According to Iowa law, toddlers ages 1-5 must either remain in a child safety seat or use a booster seat. In this summer’s survey, only 6 percent of toddlers observed were restrained merely by a seatbelt, a considerable improvement over two years ago, when 13 percent of this age group were found not to be using a booster seat.
Particularly alarming, according to UI researchers, was the fact that among older youth (ages 14-17), 24.8 percent were completely unrestrained in the vehicle. This is not only unsafe but a violation of Iowa’s child passenger safety law, says John Lundell, deputy director of the IPRC.
“It is very encouraging that almost 98 percent of the infants in Iowa are being properly restrained,” says Lundell, who directed the study. “However, we need to increase efforts to ensure that all children – and all passengers for that matter – are properly restrained per Iowa law.”
Lundell also notes the encouraging finding that 78 percent of all child and youth passengers were riding in the rear seat, the safest location in the event of a crash.
To conduct the child passenger safety survey, trained surveyors observed over 3,000 children during the months of May through August 2011, in 36 Iowa communities ranging in size from 1,400 residents to 204,000 residents. (For a complete list of communities and local survey results, visit http://www.public-health.uiowa.edu/iprc)
The annual survey, funded by the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, is conducted to measure compliance with the Iowa child passenger restraint law and to direct educational efforts.
More information on proper seating, car seat inspections, locations of CPS technicians in Iowa, state child passenger safety law, or training is available online at www.blankchildrens.org/cps.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications and External Relations, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242
MEDIA CONTACT: Bill Barker, [email protected], 319-384-4277