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Child Safety

Did You Know?

Monday, November 22, 1999 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Police in all 50 states will stop and ticket drivers who fail to buckle up their children this Thanksgiving Holiday week, federal, state and local officials said on Monday.

``Our message is clear -- traveling with unbuckled children is unacceptable,'' U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater told a news conference.

Over the past two years, mobilizations against drivers who failed to secure their children in vehicles at Thanksgiving and at the start of the summer driving season were credited by safety advocates with increasing child safety seat and seat belt use to 75 percent from 65 percent.

The number of law enforcement agencies taking part in this latest blitz grew from about 6,000 to more than 7,000 after additional police units agreed to take part, organizers said. The days around the Thursday holiday are traditionally the year's busiest travel period.

In 1998, motor vehicle crashes took the lives of 2,009 child occupants up to the age of 15 and injured 320,000.

Nearly six out of every 10 children who died were unbelted, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data. The agency estimates half of those children would be alive today if they had been properly restrained.

An additional 70 percent were either unrestrained or improperly restrained at the time of the crash.

A personal note here.
There has been a lot of press coverage about tragic accidents involving children and rear facing child seats. If you are driving a vehicle with a small child in a rear facing 'safety' seat, when the child moves, your eyes will turn to your child. This is a natural reaction. The question is:
WHO THE HELL IS DRIVING YOUR CAR THEN??

For those of you that are still a little unclear on this point, let me enlighten you. Cars built prior to 1999, are equipped with airbags designed to restrain a 160LB. person in the front seat. The passenger airbag is about 3-5 times larger than the driver's bag because it is in the dash and when it inflates, it bounces off the windshield to cover the distance to the occupant in the seat.

One of these Rear Facing 'Safety' Seats, moves your child between 12-24 Inches closer to the airbag than the system was designed for. Also, your child is facing in the wrong direction to benefit from the airbag. This means that in a collision that deploys the airbags, your child has a real good chance of being a fatality, rather than being a source of pride and joy.

Please put your children in the rear seats.

Remember, Your car is a device to take you from Point A to Point B. It is not your Bathroom, Living Room, Dining Room, Office or your Nursery.

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