iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Are taxis safe enough for children?

Researchers presenting at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting found that a majority of children are not properly restrained in taxis, even though motor vehicle collisions are the number one cause of death among children in the United States.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends child safety seats or belt positioning booster seats until a child attains a height of 4 foot 9 inches, a standard enforced by law in all states. Taxis are notably exempt from these regulations, however.

Researchers stationed at 11 locations in the New York metro area observed that only 11 percent of small children were properly restrained, with most of these being infants in infant carriers. A survey of taxi companies in the area (researchers placing anonymous calls to companies) showed that only 39 percent reported having child safety seats available for riders. Most cited health code restrictions, allergies and hygiene for not providing these seats.

The researchers said they worry that the millions of city children who are riding unrestrained in taxis are at additional risk for significant injury or death. The group called upon new laws and regulations to protect our smallest passengers.

The study, not yet published in a peer-reviewed journal, was observational and researchers recorded people getting into and out of cabs. Researchers observed 609 taxis and evaluated 116 children, meaning the results cannot necessarily be generalized.

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Source: Health