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Study: Northeast roads may be safest in country for children

Some good news for New Jersey parents: children are less likely to be involved in fatal car accidents in the Northeast than elsewhere in the country, according to a new study published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Researchers at Harvard and UT Southwestern Medical Center analyzed traffic fatalities reported between 2010 and 2014 that involved children ages 14 and younger. Here are some of the findings, as reported by Science Daily:

  • 2,885 children died in car accidents reported from 2010 to 2014.
  • Over half of these deaths occurred in the South (1,550).
  • The Northeast had the fewest child fatalities of any region (189).
  • Almost twice as many fatal crashes occurred on rural roads than on state highways.
  • New Jersey had one of the lowest percentages of child traffic deaths in the nation, as well as one of the lowest child mortality rates overall.

Even if New Jersey, along with the rest of the Northeast, did well compared to other states, there's still work to be done to keep children safe on the roads. Drunk drivers are part of the problem: drivers under the influence of alcohol were involved in nine percent of the fatal accidents analyzed by the researchers. Another important factor is child seat safety: in 20 percent of the fatal accidents in the study, a child wasn't properly restrained in a car seat or wearing a seatbelt. In 13 percent of the accidents, a child was sitting in the front seat inappropriately.

In New Jersey, children must be at least 8 years old or at least 57 inches tall to ride in the front seat. Otherwise, they need ride in the back seat in a car seat appropriate to their age and weight, according to the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety.

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