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STATISTICS FIND MANY USE CHILD CAR SEATS INCORRECTLY; TIPS ON PROPER USE PROVIDED IN FREE BROCHURE IN SUPPORT OF CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY WEEK

STATISTICS FIND MANY USE CHILD CAR SEATS INCORRECTLY; TIPS ON PROPER USE PROVIDED IN FREE BROCHURE IN SUPPORT OF CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY WEEK
 BOSTON, Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a recent 19-city survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one in four child safety seats is seriously misused, contributing to an estimated additional 53,000 injuries and 500 deaths of children in motor vehicle accidents each year. In an effort to support Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week, Feb. 9-15, and to educate the public on the correct use of motor vehicle child safety seats, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company has available a free updated brochure titled "Child Safety in Your Automobile."
 It was determined in the NHTSA survey that when used correctly, child passenger safety seats are 71 percent effective in preventing fatalities due to an auto accident, 67 percent effective in reducing the need for hospitalization, and 50 percent effective in preventing minor injuries.
 Proper use is important. Infants in child safety seats should be secured to the vehicle and facing the rear. For increased collision protection, the child safety seat should be placed in the center of the rear seat.
 The NHTSA survey also found that some of the most common and dangerous misuse errors were not securing the child with the safety seat harness; not securing the seat with the safety belt; using the vehicle's automatic belt system without regard to the vehicle manufacturer's instructions; and, placing a rear-facing seat in an airbag-equipped seating position.
 This last example of misuse should be carefully noted, as many newer vehicles on the market today are equipped with airbags, and Liberty Mutual stresses the importance of knowing that in vehicles with passenger-side airbags, rear facing seats should not be used in the front. Instead, infants should ride in the rear center seat of these vehicles facing the rear.
 To protect children who have outgrown the convertible or toddler seat, usually when the child weighs over 40 lbs., use a lap/shoulder belt in the rear seat only, if it fits properly. To fit properly, the belt should fit across the child's hips, and should not cross the face or the neck or ride up across the stomach. To do this, a booster seat is recommended. It elevates children so the car's lap belts fit across their hips and pelvic bones, rather than their stomachs. Additional booster seat usage instructions are contained in the brochure.
 Safety seats must meet federal safety standards which are identified by the federal safety certification label found on the child safety seat packaging. For confirmation that a model meets those federal standards, call NHTSA's auto safety hotline at 1-800-424-9393.
 To receive a free copy of Liberty Mutual's "Child Safety in Your Automobile" brochure which answers the questions most often asked about child safety seats, provides information on choosing the right seat, and their proper usage, write to Liberty Mutual, P.O. Box 777CSB, Boston, Mass., 02116.
 -0- 2/7/92
 /CONTACT: Diane Turner and Jerry C. Guerriero of Liberty Mutual, 617-574-5752/ CO: Liberty Mutual ST: Massachusetts IN: INS SU:


EG-DD -- NE007 -- 7762 02/07/92 12:14 EST
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Date:Feb 7, 1992
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