Since the wide adoption of their use, child seats have helped save hundreds of thousands of children's lives. When a car accident occurs, it's often the youngest passengers that are most vulnerable to suffering severe injuries. However, despite recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, many parents fail to comply with child seat and booster seat laws.
There is no doubt that seat belts and child seats save lives. If involved in a car accident, children that are not properly restrained often suffer serious injury and even death. The results of a new study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, however, show that many parents fail to properly restrain their children in a car seat or booster seat.
According to the study, the majority of parents fail to keep their child in a rear-facing position until they are two-years-old or reach a specific height and weight. Additionally, it's recommended that children use a booster seat until they are eight-years-old or a certain height. Despite safety and crash test studies proving children are more likely to be injured in a car accident when these safety guidelines are not followed; many parents fail to use booster seats long enough.
Additionally, for safety reasons it's recommended that children under the age of 12-years-old ride in the backseat. If a car accident occurs, the deployment of the front passenger-side airbag can seriously injure children who are not of a certain height and weight. According to the NHTSA study, however, by the time a child is eight, more than one in four will regularly sit in the front passenger seat.
The study also showed that many parents aren't following seat belt laws. Not surprisingly, these parents are far more likely to not properly restrain their children.
Safety experts continue to struggle with how to change dangerous behaviors and encourage parents to use seat belts and child and booster seats. Stricter penalties for parents who do not properly restrain their children as well as mandatory educational training are some options currently being explored.
Source: Cars.com, "Child-Safety Seat use Drops As Kids Age," Jennifer Geiger, Sept. 17, 2012