Wednesday, March 19, 2008

10 Safest States For Kids

By Karen Cicero for Parents magazine

To give you a quick idea of how much location matters, consider this: Kids are six times more likely to die from a violence-related injury in Alaska than they are in Massachusetts. In California, public playgrounds must meet all federal government safety recommendations, but 34 states offer no standards for where your kids climb, jump and swing. Connecticut and 20 other states have made big improvements in school-bus crossings, while 13, including Nebraska and Arizona, are way behind.

Surprisingly, basic safety devices like booster seats and bike helmets aren’t required in most states — 31 fail to mandate one or both of them. “Having a law is essential, even if you wouldn’t dream of putting your preschooler in the car without a booster seat,” says Alan Korn, director of public policy for Safe Kids Worldwide, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C. “Not only does a law educate parents who might not be as safety-conscious as you, but it also makes it easier for you to handle protests from your kids. When my 7-year-old says he’s too big for a bike helmet, I just remind him that it’s the law. Argument over.”

While no state has a perfect track record, Parents’ investigation turned up a top 10 ranking of those that are at least trying hard. If you live in these states, consider yourself lucky:

1. Connecticut
2. Rhode Island
3. New Jersey
4. New York
5. California
6. Maine
7. Pennsylvania
8. Massachusetts
9. Maryland
10. Oregon

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