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Quick reference medical handouts used by Pediatric offices


Children riding in pickup trucks


Pickup trucks have become increasingly popular in the United States. This form of transportation now represents 17% of registered motor vehicles in the United States. Since motor vehicle trauma remains a leading cause of death of children, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued a policy statement that urged parents not to allow their children to rise in the cargo area of trucks. According to the Academy, cargo area passengers were 3 times more likely to die than were occupants in the cab and compared with restrained cab occupants, the risk of death for those in the cargo area was 8 times higher.

The Academy recommends that:

  • No passengers be transported in the cargo area of a pickup truck or a nonpassenger section of any vehicle.
  • Trips should be planned in advance so that an appropriate seat position and restraint device be used for each passenger.
  • Parents check compatibility between the vehicle seat (front and back seats) and the car safety seat before purchasing a vehicle or a child safety seat.
  • Infants in rear-facing car safety seats should not be placed in front passenger seats when an airbag is present and activated. If no appropriate rear seating position is available, an infant should be placed in the front passenger seat only if an airbag on/off switch is installed and turned off.
  • Car safety seats should fit completely on the rear seat of the pickup truck and should be properly secured facing the rear for infants younger than 1 year and weighing <20 pounds, and facing forward for older children. The addition of a tether may improve the security of a car safety seat.
  • All forward-facing car safety seats should be installed using a top tether in addition to the vehicle belt.
  • Teenagers should agree that they will not ride or transport others in the cargo area of a pickup truck.
  • Law enforcement agencies should be strongly urged to enforce laws relating to occupant travel, including restraint and seat belt use laws, as well as laws prohibiting travel in cargo areas of pickup trucks.

 

As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your child’s pediatrician. Please read our full disclaimer.

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