Ride Safe this Summer
Margo Kerrigan, M.P.H, Area Director
Indian Health Service California Area Office
JUNE 2012 - Summer has finally arrived and many of you will increase the amount of outdoor activities, summer recreation, and driving time on the roads. If you will be using a motor vehicle as transportation, be sure to wear your seatbelt and secure children in proper child safety seats.
Injuries are the leading cause of death among American Indians and Alaskan Natives (AI/AN) ages 1-44 in California. Injuries accounted for 2,457 deaths and 12, 130 hospitalizations of AI/AN in California, from 1999-2006.1
Injuries are categorized into unintentional injuries and intentional injuries. Unintentional injuries include motor vehicle crashes, drowning, fires, burns, falls, and poisoning. Intentional injuries include homicides suicides, assaults, child abuse and domestic violence.
The leading causes of death from injury among AI/AN in California are from motor vehicles crashes. From 1991-2006, there were a total of 1,833 injuries.2 California law requires drivers and passengers to use a safety restraint system while riding in a motor vehicle. Before you start the car, buckle any children into an appropriate car seat. Then fasten your own safety belt, reminding any other passengers to Buckle Up! Remember, a correctly fitted seat belt has the lap belt snugly across the upper thighs and below the hips, with the shoulder belt snugly against the chest and securely on the shoulder.
When choosing the right seat for your child the best and safest car seat is the one that fits your child, fits in your vehicle and is easy to adjust, so you can do it correctly every time. Make sure to always follow your car seat manufacturer's instructions and your vehicle owner's manual for installation of child safety seats. When choosing a car seat select a child safety seat based on your child's age, height and weight.
1 Atlas of Injuries Among American Indian and Alaska Natives in California, 1991?2006. California Area Indian Health Service. 2009.
2 California Department of Public Health, Epidemiology and Prevention Injury Control and CDC WISQUARS
For more information:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS
State of California: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/injviosaf/Pages/CarSeatBasics.aspx
To find a car seat inspection station near you: http://www.nhtsa.gov/cps/cpsfitting/index.cfm