Medical News Today
Even though in the U.S. car accidents represent the highest cause of death for children above the age of 3 and are responsible for over 140,000 children’s visits to the emergency room each year, new research published in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has revealed that only a small percentage of children in the U.S. are using age-appropriate safety restraints and many children are seated in the front seat and exposed to risk.
In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new Guidelines for Child Passenger Safety, which recommend that until at least the age of two infants are seated in rear-facing car seats and forward-facing car seats with a five-point harness until the child has reached the maximum weight and height suggested by the manufacturer. It further recommends booster seats until an adult seat belt fits properly, i.e. when a child reaches around 57″ in height, which is the average height of an 11 year old and that children up to the age of 13 are seated in the back.
Co-authors Michelle L. Macy, MD, MS, and Gary L. Freed, MD, MPH, who both work at the University of Michigan at the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit, Division of General Pediatrics, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, said: “We found that few children remain rear-facing after age 1, fewer than 2% use a booster seat after age 7, many over age six sit in the front seat.”