More parents and caregivers are getting the message and placing their infants and toddlers in car safety seats correctly, according to new research.
For years, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has aggressively urged parents and caregivers to put their children in rear-facing car seats until they are at least two years old. The AAP’s education policy seems to be paying off.
The study found that infants placed in rear-facing car seats increased from 84% in 2009 to 91% in 2015. The percentage of toddlers aged 12-17 months being placed in rear-facing car seats also increased dramatically from 12% to 61% during the same time period.
"This study shows that child passenger safety education has been a success in making sure young children are positioned correctly in the car, but there is still room for improvement," Dr. Joseph O'Neil, medical director of the Automotive Safety Program at Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana University Health, said in a press release.
The researchers also found that the use of booster-seat use decreased from 72% to 65% for older kids from 4 to 7 years old during that time.
The study findings suggest educational programs to improve child passenger safety could focus on the gaps identified by the study, including the recommendation to keep children rear-facing in safety seats through age 24 months, to use booster seats through age 8, and the recommendation that children sit in the back seat through age 13.
Safercar.org has a video and step-by-step instructions on how to properly install a rear-facing car seat for baby’s safety.
AAP also offers “Tips for Parents,” in video and written media, for shopping for car seats.
The study will be presented today at the AAP’s National Conference & Exhibition in Chicago.
This research is good news for children! Proper use of rear –facing car seats and booster seats are the first line of defense in keeping children safer when they’re riding in your car.