Kids today are safer than ever before, according to a 10-year study by the CDC. Thanks in part to car safety. In young children, it can make the difference between life and death.

“Hopefully everybody realizes that the car seats are absolutely something that’s vital to use and it saves lives quite frankly,” says Mark Tesoro, trauma analyst, with Lee Memorial Health System.
Car crashes remain the top killer of children in this country, but fatal accidents involving youngsters dropped 41% between 2000 and 2009.

“Seat belt technology, the airbag technology, the safety technology in general has improved. All which contribute to the CDC numbers,” says Tesoro.

Recent changes in guidelines are aimed at lowering those rates even more. It includes keeping babies in rear facing seats longer. And restraining older children in booster seats based on their size not age.
“A child shouldn’t be sitting, as they graduate out of a car seat, into a regular seat belt. They need to be 4’9 and 85 pounds,” says Tesoro.

Some injury deaths are on the rise. Suffocation rates jumped 54 percent while poisonings including drug overdose were up 91%. Drowning has seen a spike in Southwest Florida, with four drownings between January and August 2012 and 17 near drownings.

“You need to create layers of protection to prevent the children from reaching the water. Young children are very quick one minute they’re in your sight and the next minute they’re gone,” says Michele King, child advocacy program with Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

The common thread linking accidental deaths: most all are preventable.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we've been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

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