Car seat safety. Follow the rules and keep your kids alive.
Tyler, TX — Many American children are not meeting recommended car passenger safety guidelines for their age group, a new study finds.
Too many of these youngsters are also riding in the front seat before they're ready, putting them at greater risk on the road, according to research published in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines on child passenger safety in 2011.
The AAP advised that children be placed in rear-facing car seats until they are at least 2 years old. Next, children should use forward-facing car seats with a five-point harness until they reach the maximum height and weight requirement recommended by the seat's manufacturer.
Children should continue to use a booster seat until they are about 57 inches tall—the average height of an 11-year-old child—and an adult seat belt fits them properly and securly. Children under 13 years old should ride in the back seat, the AAP said.
During the study the researchers also asked the drivers to give their age as well as the ages of all the children riding in the car. The drivers also gave the race and ethnicity of the child passengers.
As children got older, they were less likely to be restrained in cars and follow recommended car safety guidelines.
In relation to race and ethnicity the study showed Hispanic and black children were even less likely to use age-appropriate restraints than white children.
The finding of the study show that not all children have been reached equally by community-based public education campaigns and the passage of child safety seat laws in 48 states. Further development and dissemination of culturally specific programs that have demonstrated success in promoting restraint use among minority children are necessary. Further, the findings may also help in developing strategies to lower the racial and ethnic disparities seen in children experiencing crash-related injuries.
So always buckle up your babies. And if your children are under that age of 13, make sure they sit in the back, with a seat belt on—of course.