Your Family

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LOVE THAT SCHOOL BUS Sending children off on the big yellow bus is almost eight times as safe as driving them to school in the family car, according to a new federal report. Strong, closely spaced bus seats were said to protect students in head-on crashes — but lap belts, which could increase the incidence of neck injury, were of little benefit. Still, the Department of Transportation is considering shoulder-style belts for smaller buses, which are more prone to rollovers.

A KIND OF BIRTH CONTROL Seattle researchers were happily surprised by the long-term results of an elementary school program that encouraged girls to succeed academically and develop a bond with their school. By age 21, participants were significantly less likely to become pregnant — even though the program did not involve sex education. Researchers think the girls didn't want to risk the academic future they had been taught to believe in.

NOT YOUR FRIENDS Just because Rachel, Ross and the gang of Friends make you laugh doesn't mean they're your buddies. That may seem obvious, but a researcher at Indiana University of Pennsylvania thinks many TV viewers subconsciously register faces they see regularly — even those of actors on the small screen — as friends. Some subjects thought they had a rich social life but may only have been relating well with the couch.