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US child restraint use in 2004

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Infants and toddlers in America continue to be restrained at high use levels when riding in motor vehicles, while use among children aged 4–7 has declined. This result is from the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), which provides the only probability based observed data on child restraint use in the US. The NOPUS is conducted by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Specifically, 98% of infants and 93% of children aged 1–3 observed in passenger vehicles stopped at a stop sign or stoplight in 2004 were restrained in some type of restraint, whether a rear or front facing safety seat, a booster seat, or a safety belt. In contrast, only 73% of children ages 4–7 were restrained, down from 83% two years ago. Drivers who restrain themselves continue to be more likely to restrain their child passengers. In 2004, 86% of 0–7 year old children driven by belted drivers were restrained, compared with 50% of children with unbelted drivers. This suggests that getting adults to buckle up may also result in more restrained children. For detailed analyses of the data in this publication, as well as additional data and information on the survey design and analysis procedures, see Child restraint use in 2004 – analysis, available at http://tinyurl.com/g8xm.

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