Children as Young as 12-months-old Can Unbuckle Seatbelt, Study Finds

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Children still too young to walk are finding ways to wriggle out of protective car restraints and are increasing their risk of serious injuries, a study shows.

Researchers at Yale University’s School of Medicine found some children as young as 12 months can unbuckle their seatbelts. A majority of youngsters less than three years old can do it, with boys most often the ones attempting to unhook their seatbelts.

“Young children might acquire the motor skills to unbuckle from restraints before developing the cognitive ability to understand the necessity of automotive restraints,” said Dr. Lilia Reyes, a clinical fellow at Yale and co-author of the report

Researchers said the findings should prompt a broader study on devices that would keep kids safer, particularly because car crashes are a leading cause of death among four to eight years old.

The findings, which will be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in Denver on Sunday, are based on 500 surveys distributed at pediatric offices in Connecticut.

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