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Toddler death raises concern over car seat rules

Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the U.S., many can be prevented.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor Jan 17, 2013 6:42PM

A Las Vegas family is devastated after their 3-year-old was killed in a crash on Monday, reports KTNV.com.

Emily Kay was killed when the car her father was driving was struck by an SUV.  Las Vegas police say Emily was riding in a booster seat rather than a car seat with a built-in harness, reports KTNV.com. Her father, Casey Barringer is in critical condition.

Photo: Ryan McVay/Getty Images"You should never put a child under 40 pounds in a backless booster seat that only uses the adult-sized safety belt as a restraint," Jeanne Cosgrove Marsala, the director of Safe Kids at Sunrise Children's Hospital was quoted. "You should keep a child in a car seat with an over-the-head harness for as long as possible."

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How can injuries to children in motor vehicles be prevented? Take a look at these child passenger safety facts:

In the U.S. during 2009, 1,314 children ages 14 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes, and approximately 179,000 were injured.

Placing children in age- and size-appropriate car seats and booster seats reduces serious and fatal injuries by more than half.

Child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71 percent for infants, and by 54 percent for toddlers ages 1 to 4 years.

According to researchers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, for children 4 to 7 years, booster seats reduce injury risk by 59 percent compared to seat belts alone.

Child restraint systems are often used incorrectly. One study found that 72 percent of nearly 3,500 observed car and booster seats were misused in a way that could be expected to increase a child’s risk of injury during a crash.

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"No one really realizes how quickly it can happen," Ashley Orr, Casey’s fiancé was quoted. "It happens in an instant, but the damage is permanent. Our little girl didn't make it. People need to realize that even one tiny mistake, can make all the difference."

Parents and caregivers, do you set a good example for your children and buckle up every time?

Bing: Alarming statistics on children and car accidents

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Photo: Ryan McVay/Getty Images

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