Car Seats Remain Dangerously Underused, Study Finds

More than 9,000 children under 12 died in motor vehicle accidents from 2002 to 2011, in many cases because they were not properly restrained in child seats or seatbelts.

Though the death rate decreased over those years, to 1.2 per 100,000 children in 2011 from 2.2 in 2002, seatbelts would have saved many more lives, according to a study published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In 2011, 33 percent of children who died in motor vehicle accidents were not buckled in. While only 2 percent of children under age 1 rode unrestrained, 22 percent of those in that age group who died were unbuckled. An estimated 3,308 children under 4 are alive today because they were properly buckled in.

In 2009-10, there were no differences in death rates by age or sex, but black children had a death rate about 46 percent higher than Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites.

Another recent study also found that car seat safety practices differ among racial and ethnic groups, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced new safety standards that would protect children in side-impact crashes, a common scenario for car accidents involving children.

Wondering if your car seat is appropriate and safe for your child?  Check out Parents.com's 6 smart car seat safety rulesOr click here for the American Academy of Pediatrics' guidelines on car safety for newborns through 13-year-olds.

Learn the mistakes that parents most often make, and how to avoid them.

Image: Child in a car seat, via Shutterstock

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