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November 21, 1986

Children Dragged to Their Death by School Vans

JAMA. 1986;256(19):2677. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380190047020

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To the Editor.—  I am writing to alert physicians to a serious and lethal health problem involving young school-children.I am referring to the hazard facing these children when they descend from school vans as they are dropped off at home. I personally have been made aware of four fatal cases in recent years in my own neighborhood in Brooklyn, which is equivalent to a moderate-sized city of approximately 100 000 people. The deaths resulted from the childrens' coats or other articles of clothing becoming entrapped in the closing door. This caused the children to be dragged in the street by the vehicle for hundreds of feet to their death.All of the four victims were girls between the ages of 5 and 8 years. The fatalities occurred in winter or early spring, when the students were wearing bulky outerwear that became entrapped by the closing doors of the vans.