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For Immediate Release

Children's Hospital Injury Prevention Experts Want Parents to Know That Properly Installed Car Seats Help Save Lives

With inclement weather causing poor driving conditions throughout the region, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC's  injury prevention experts want to reinforce the effectiveness of child safety seats and remind parents that car seats and seat belts are the best way of avoiding serious injury in a crash.

National Child Passenger Safety Week, Feb. 11 – 17, 2007, is coming at a particularly important time this year. Barbara Gaines, MD, director of the Benedum Trauma Program and a trauma surgeon at Children's, worries that parents may be concerned about child safety seats following a recent magazine report that claimed many car seats were ineffective. The magazine then retracted its report, explaining that it had misinterpreted its data.

"Many parents have a lot of questions regarding the use of car seats for kids, but we know that children are much more likely to survive a crash if properly restrained" said Dr. Gaines, an assistant professor of Pediatric Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "National research shows that car seats, when installed properly, can reduce the chance of death by more than 90 percent and injury by 70 percent. Proper installation of a child safety seat is crucial, so I think it's important for parents to read the instructions carefully, or even better, to attend a car seat safety checkpoint."

Dr. Gaines stressed that while children 8-years-old and younger are required to be in booster or child safety seats, it is important to remind adolescents, teens and adults to use a seatbelt. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children, and in 2004, 50 percent of child occupants who were fatally injured in crashes were unrestrained according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Children's is part of an organization, Team Educators for CHild Safety (TECHS), that is sponsoring free child safety seat checkpoints every month in order to educate families about the safest way to transport children. Sixteen free car seat checkpoints are already scheduled for 2007. The next checkpoint will be held indoors on Thursday, March 8 from 3 – 6:30 p.m. at the Guyasuta Volunteer Fire Department, 1341 Old Freeport Road, O'Hara Township.

TECHS  is a non-profit coalition of certified child safety seat inspectors formed in 2002. In 2006, certified inspectors from Children's participated in 24 child safety and booster seat inspections, educating more than 500 families.

Pennsylvania law requires children who are under the age of 4 or who weigh less than 40 pounds to ride in a car seat. Children ages 4 to 8 years old who are passengers in motor vehicles need to be restrained in a booster seat.

Learn more about upcoming child passenger safety seat inspections



Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016,

Last Update
April 28, 2008
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Last Update
April 28, 2008