A new auto safety study shows that children are being "needlessly and inexcusably" killed and maimed in car crashes because they are not wearing restraints.

In testimony before the House Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, Insurance Institute for highway Safety President William Haddon Jr. said "nearly 2,000 American children (under the age of 15) are being killed when motor vehicles in which they are riding crash."

He said the bloodshed "won't go away simply because we wish it would. It will go away only if we apply the practical, simple technological answers that have been available in this field for year to better protect people-adults as well as children-in crashes."

He called for state and local government to mandate child protection laws that would require adults to place children in available safety belts or restraint systems while in motor vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should amend its present motor vehicle safety standards "so as to clean up motor vehicle interiors by eliminating hostile structures where small chilren are likely to make contact in crashes," Haddon said.

Auto manufacturers can help also, he said by "properly packaging people in crashes."

Finally, Haddon said, parents and other adults "who can place children in restraints, but usually don't," must be more insistant. He said a survey by his institute shows that "93 percent of children younger than 10 years old were found to be travelling about unrestrained or improperly restrained."

Haddon then showed films of two test crashes in which dummies showed that children sitting unrestrained in a parent's lap in a car are exremely vulnerable in crashes.