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Published on Aug 09, 2012 by Edgar Snyder

Most Children Aren't Properly Restrained in Cars

child rear facing car seat

The vast majority of children are not properly restrained in car seats or booster seats, according to a new study. This is despite the fact that safety seats can reduce the risk of death in a car accident by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers.

Researchers at the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor observed almost 22,000 children. They found that only 3 percent of toddlers between the ages of one and three who were restrained were actually sitting in a proper, rear-facing car seat. Only 10 percent of 8- to 10-year-olds were properly secured in a booster seat or car seat.

The study's author believes that people don't adhere to car seat guidelines because of the changes the guidelines have undergone recently. Though each state has its own car seat and booster seat laws, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Children should be in rear-facing seats until the age of two.
  • After age two kids should be in front-facing car seats with harnesses until their height and weight exceed the seat's capacity.
  • Children should be in a booster seat until they're 57 inches tall, which is the height of an average 11 year old.
  • Kids shouldn't sit in the front seat until they're 13 years old.

The most common mistakes were that children over the age of seven were rarely in booster seats and that by ages eight through ten, one-fourth of kids were already sitting in the front seat.

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children over the age of three in the United States and more than 140,000 kids go to the emergency rooms every year because of car crashes.

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"Child car seat rules mostly ignored, study finds." NBCNews.com. 8/7/2012.
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