Attention Children – Buckle Up Correctly!

Study Shows Only Half of Children Above Age Six are Correctly Secured in Booster Seats

NOVATO, Calif.--()--The number is surprising - only a little more than half of all children above the age of six are correctly secured in booster seats, according to the results of a new study by the Allianz Technology Center.

The center and Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company (www.ffic.com), which are owned by Allianz, partnered together to examine restraining systems for children between the ages of 6 and 12. Various tests were carried out comparing the effects of correct and incorrect securing measures. The study found the safety belt is the number one life saver when it comes to children, but only in combination with a child seat.

The way children aged six or above fasten their safety belts is of particular concern. In this age group, only 63 percent were secured in restraining systems appropriate to their age outside built-up areas (booster seats), compared to as few as 58 percent inside booster seats - (source: BASt Federal Road Research Institute 2009).

“The tests illustrate that the child would slide under the belts if they are incorrectly positioned,” said Michael LaRocco, CEO of Fireman’s Fund, in summarizing the research results. “The incorrect positioning of the belts is particularly dangerous as far as the abdominal area is concerned. If the lap belt is not able to brace itself against the pelvis, it puts enormous pressure on the soft tissue and can cause serious injury.

“We believe that it's important to address the children directly, because many children in this age group already fasten the safety belt themselves. For them, the safety belt is the number one life saver, but only in combination with the correct positioning of the belt and a child seat that is commensurate with the child's age. We would like to see children automatically securing themselves correctly, even without the help of parents.”

The good news is, on a whole, the number of children who die in car accidents is decreasing. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (www.iihs.org) passenger vehicle child occupant deaths in the U.S. in 2008 (697 fatalities) were 50 percent lower than in 1975 (1,384 fatalities).

Six safety pointers

  • The lap belt must be positioned directly in front of the pelvic bone. Under no circumstances should it be placed across the abdomen.
  • At the shoulder the belt must be placed across the collar bone – not across the neck and not over the shoulder joint ball.
  • When booster seats are used, the belt has to be guided underneath the little rails.
  • Always pull the seat belt tight, so that it closely hugs the body.
  • Transport children who are shorter than 4’ 11” in restraining systems appropriate for their age in a booster seat, even if you are only driving short distances.
  • IIHS provides ratings for booster seats IIHS booster seat ratings: http://www.iihs.org/

About Fireman’s Fund

Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company is a premier property and casualty insurance company providing personal and commercial insurance products nationwide. It is rated ‘AA-’ by Standard & Poor’s Rating Services. Fireman’s Fund is a member of the Allianz Group, the world’s largest provider of property and casualty insurance. For additional information, visit www.firemansfund.com and www.facebook.com/FiremansFund.

About Allianz Center for Technology

The Allianz Center for Technology (AZT) in Munich is an Allianz owned and run technical research facility employing over 30 engineers. They conduct one crash test every week of the year, improving road safety for all. With 186 million cars on the road in the United States, this is an important source of expertise. AZT makes recommendations to the public and industry peers, based on evidence generated by test series and studies, e.g. damageability, repair, and safety. www.allianz.com

Contacts

Fireman’s Fund
Janet Ruiz, 415-899-5381
jruiz@ffic.com
www.twitter.com/FireFundNews
www.facebook.com/FiremansFund

Release Summary

A little over half of all children above the age of six are correctly secured in booster seats, according to the results of a new study by the Allianz Technology Center.

Contacts

Fireman’s Fund
Janet Ruiz, 415-899-5381
jruiz@ffic.com
www.twitter.com/FireFundNews
www.facebook.com/FiremansFund