Letter to The Editor-September 19, 2018

When I slip behind the wheel, I make sure any passengers in my vehicle are properly secured before shifting into gear. My grandchildren are often with me, and their safety is a top priority. Minnesota law requires children to be in a child restraint until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall, or eight years of age, whichever comes first. Between 2013 and 2017, 18 children ages 0-7 were killed in Minnesota motor vehicles crashes. Only half of them were known to be properly secured. Five were not properly restrained, and restraint use was unknown in four of the fatalities. Of the 83 children ages 0-7 seriously injured in crashes, only 47 percent were known to be properly secured. In 2017, 78 unbelted motorists lost their lives on Minnesota roads, and 76 percent of those were outside the seven-county metro area. Thankfully, most Minnesotans know seat belts save lives and prevent life-changing injuries. The 2018 Minnesota Seat Belt Survey shows 92 percent compliance for front seat occupants. In Minnesota crashes between 2013 and 2017, of the 17,436 properly-restrained children ages 0- 7, 87 percent were not injured, and another 11 percent sustained possible injuries. More good news: severe injuries are down in Minnesota. In 1987, there were 4,176 vehicle occupants who suffered severe injuries in traffic crashes, but that number dropped to 1,215 in 2017. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2016, seat belts saved over 14,000 lives across the nation. They said in a 2015 report that a belted, front seat rider cut fatal injury risk by 45 percent and moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent. Wear your seat belt correctly; secured across the hips or thighs with the second strap across your chest. Don’t tuck it under your arm or behind your back. Buckling up takes but a few seconds and could save your life, and the lives of those you love. Christine Husom, Safe Communities of

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