A new study has been released in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine regarding how many children are at risk of serious injury or death because of a lack of a proper car safety seat.
Researchers staked out places like gas stations, fast food restaurants, child care centers, and recreation sites to interview parents about their child’s car seat when they pulled into the location.
There were around 21,500 children included in the study from all different age, weight, and ethnic groups.
What they found was that within each age group, as children got older they were more and more likely to not be in the proper car seat for their age. The researchers also found that children from a minority background had a much higher propensity to be transitioned out of a car seat far too soon.
One of the biggest problems they found was that fewer than two percent of children of all ethnic backgrounds over the age of seven used a booster seat as recommended. This put a large population of older children at serious risk for injury or death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 179,000 child injuries occur each year in auto accidents. The proper use of child safety seats cut the death risk by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for young children ages 1-4 when used properly.
Researchers found the most important information that came from this study is that while there were disparities within different age and racial backgrounds, very few children overall were using the recommended safety seats for their designated age group. And far too many children over the age of five were already riding in the front passenger seat before it was safe for them. In connection to this finding, they also found that parents who didn’t wear a seat belt were 23 times more likely to have a child unrestrained in the car with them.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s car seat, or want to know if they are in the proper seat, you can find more information on the NHTSA website at www.nhtsa.gov or you can visit your local fire and police station and they can offer you a free inspection and guidance.