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Across The Country, Dean Tries To Keep Momentum

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Hopscotching the hustings this week with Howard Dean, the underdog-turned-top dog who has surged toward the front of the Democratic presidential primary field, you would almost think there was an election coming up.

Five months before the first ballot is cast and 15 months before the last will be counted, Dean, the former governor of Vermont, spent the past four days criss-crossing the country in a chartered jet as though in the heat of a head-to-head national campaign rather than in the nascent chapter of a longshot bid in a crowded field. He hit states like Oregon that have little to do with nominations but could be crucial in a general election, and all-but ignored his Democratic rivals as he roused rabid audiences against their Republican nemesis, George W. Bush.

The staggering, seemingly spontaneous, crowds turning up to meet him -- 10,000 in Seattle Sunday -- are unheard of in these young days of the race, when most candidates concentrate on the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, and would seem formidable even in October 2004.

On Tuesday morning, the campaign took another audacious step, saying it would broadcast television advertisements in six new states beginning on Friday, and expected to raise $10.3 million during the three months ending Sept. 30 -- more than any other Democrat in a similar period save for President Clinton in 1995.

Children In Back Seat Leads To Fewer Deaths, Study Says

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- WASHINGTON

Parents’ fear of the force of air bags is leading them to banish their children from the front seats of cars, vans and SUVs, a step that had the largely collateral benefit of reducing the number of child traffic fatalities by hundreds during the six-year period ended 2001, according to a new study.

At a time when such fatalities among people as a whole were inching up, the study found, those among children 12 or younger fell nearly 13 percent during that period, to 1,176 in 2001 from 1,346 in 1996, when they reached a peak. Among the youngest children, those less than 12 months old, the reduction was steepest, to 106 from 178.

The report’s author, James L. Nichols, former director of research at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said the total number of miles that American children traveled in vehicles during the period studied was up, increasing their exposure to risk by 12 percent. Given this, he estimated the number of young lives saved in that period at more than 1,700.