Study: Many Parents Don't Understand How to Use Child Seats for Non-Infant Kids

By Jacob Brown | June 10, 2013
If you have small kids, infants to age 4, you probably already know that buckling your little one into a child safety seat is a no-brainer. However, what about after that, more specifically ages 4 to 8? Child boosters exist, but do parents know how to they're supposed to be used? One study says no. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, almost half of the children killed in accidents under the age of 5 were not strapped in properly at the time of accident. Proper installation and use of child seats can decrease fatality rates for infants by 71 percent, and for toddlers, they help reduce fatality rates by 54 percent. We assume that infant death rates go down so drastically because they are still fragile, and those baby seats are more or less plastic fortresses. Doctors also say that the safest place to position a child seat is in the middle of a row of seats in the back; infants should use rear-facing seats until age 2.
The study found that only 46 percent of parents knew that their 4- to 6-year-old kids should still be using booster seats. Ninety-seven percent of parents used child seats up through age 3; just 42 percent used them for their 4- to 6-year-old kids. Among other problems kids using adult seatbelts can have by adopting them early are abdominal contusions, pelvic and spine injuries, fractures. If you're thinking to yourself that you made it out of your childhood just fine before booster seats were adopted, you're right. You also forget that if you grew up in the early '90s or earlier, most cars only had rear lap belts, airbags were few and far between, and cars were a lot less powerful. Any of those could make a car plenty more dangerous than they were a few decades back, despite today's cars having much safer structures. Kids should stay seated in back these days. Period. And kids who are 8 or younger should most definitely have booster seats. The study noted that most people with children weren't aware of laws regarding safety seats or how to properly install their child seats. Both issues can be solved pretty easily by calling up a local police authority and scheduling a safety seat inspection. Those guys are good for more than reporting your noisy neighbor to, you know? Source: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons