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Child obesity and its affect on proper restraint usage for children ages two and three

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Zastava, Tyler
Dickey, Patti; Rees, Keely; Duquette, R. Daniel
MPH, Community Health Education
Jan 08, 2010
Child restraint systems in automobiles; Obesity in children
The purpose of this article is to address how obesity is affecting the proper use of child restraints. Child passenger safety advocates recommend that a child be secured in a 5-point harness restraint until at least the age of four. Unfortunately, high obesity rates in toddlers are creating a problem because most standard restraints only allow a weight maximum of 40 pounds. Overweight children are being improperly secured during travel. Weights and BMI?s were analyzed from children two and three years old enrolled in WIC to determine how many children do not fit in a standard harness weight child restraint. The study found that 7.5% (49) children from the population sampled, weighed greater than 40 pounds; thus would not fit in a standard weight child restraint. In addition, 20% of the sample fell into either the ?overweight? or ?obese? category based on their BMI. The information found can shed light on the need for parent and law enforcement education on high-weight harness restraints, affordable and accessible high weight harness restraints, and vehicle LATCH systems engineered to handle higher weight limits on restraints.
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