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Alarming Trend In Calaveras County Regarding Child Car Safety

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Calaveras County, CA — A Calaveras County Public Health (CCPH) study reveals a disturbing trend.

The Keeping Kids Safe on Calaveras Roads: 2023 Child Passenger Safety Study found most kids were not being properly restrained. The leading cause of death for children ages 5–14 nationwide is motor vehicle crashes, with over 500 pediatric vehicular fatalities annually.

Calling that “alarming,” county health officials say it can be prevented, as half of those deaths involved a misused seat belt, car seat, or booster seat.

“Proper use of child safety systems, including car seats and booster seats, has been shown to reduce the risk of injury and death among child passengers,” advise county health officials.

To better understand what is occurring locally regarding child safety practices, the health department conducted a field observation study at five local elementary and middle schools, which assessed child restraint practices at school pick-ups in the spring of 2023. The study found that nearly four out of five children were not safely secured in vehicles. The study team provided these top concerns that were found:

  • In nearly 30% of vehicles observed, no safety restraints were used.
  • Among the 28% of vehicles observed, the vehicle pulled away without ensuring the door was closed and the child was properly restrained.
  • A booster or car seat was not used in 20% of observed vehicles where it would have been appropriate.
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