Caregivers are largely ignoring child passenger safety guidelines, often transitioning children out of rear-facing seats and booster seats too early, according to an American Journal of Preventive Medicine study.
Researchers observed safety restraint use for more than 20,000 children under age 13 years during 2007–2009. Among the findings:
- Well under 20% of children aged 0 to 3 years were rear-facing, even though 84% of children in this age group were younger than 1.
- After age 7, less then 2% of children used booster seats, which are recommended until kids reach roughly 4 feet, 9 inches tall.
- Many children over age 6 rode in the front seat, including one quarter of 8- to 10-year-olds; guidelines say children should remain in the back seat until age 13.
The researchers direct clinicians to the American Academy of Pediatrics 2011 guidelines on child passenger safety for help in counseling parents.