Hispanic and African American children are more likely to die in car accidents because of not using car seats or seat belts
It's a disturbing trend. Research analyzed by medical experts has found that Hispanic and African American children are less likely to be buckled up in the car, whether it's a car seat or a seat belt. The result has children advocates concerned. "There's some pockets in socio-economic groups, specifically the Hispanic and African American communities where we're seeing a high number of injuries and a high number of deaths," says Mary Frost, assistant director for the trauma program in the Center for Childhood Injury Prevention at Texas Children's Hospital.
In fact, when the car they're traveling in has an accident, Hispanic and African American children are significantly more likely to die. That's because they don't have the protection of a child seat or seat belt. Buckle up campaigns are nothing new, but Frost says "despite having that message out there, we believe we really do need to sit down and address this very specifically with these disproportionately affected groups."
Health and public safety professional say part of the problem is education. Dr. Victor Garcia, co-founder of Buckle Up for Life, says "safety education and access to proper car seats can make a major difference." Experts say three out of four car seats in the U.S. are not used or installed correctly.
"We need to get them that education," says Frost, "perhaps address some of the economic needs of perhaps not being able to afford a seat, and then really begin to build that culture of safety back into the lives of children and parents." She says the numbers speak for themselves. Almost 50% of fatally injured children across the country were unrestrained at the time of their crash and those motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. children between the ages of one and 12.